BY Paul Kelly
No one clicks on them, right? They are like a fly in the room that won’t stop buzzing around but you can’t get rid of it.
Unfortunately for journalists and bloggers, these things pay for what we do. Journalism’s future is closely tied to the advertising industry’s ability to capitalise on internet content.
But there is hope, according to Gawker Media owner Nick Denton. Denton has always tried to do things a little differently in the media world. According to this memo, Gawker’s master plan is to monetise the comments section.
Essentially, the concept is that advertisements will be strategically inserted into comment threads and will have some kind of relevance to the topic being discussed.
“We all know the conventional wisdom: the days of the banner advertisement are numbered. In two years, our primary offering to marketers will be our discussion platform.” – Nick Denton
The plan, unveiled last month, isn’t really that new or novel though. It’s word-of-mouth advertising; it’s taking a Tupperware party to the twenty-tens.
But if Denton’s approach works, then this will mark an important shift from online content, to online discussion. More of a Web 2.0 kind of thing.
Felix Salmon writes, “Expect Gawker’s blog posts to get shorter, in future, and sometimes just be a headline, at least in the first instance, so that the conversation can get going before a pretty post can be put together.”
But by putting an emphasis on the commenters, it could in fact be taking away just as much from journalists and bloggers as it is giving them.
Another question mark over the idea is that there isn’t much stopping advertisers from jumping into the comments for free.
Denton is relying on advertisers to “pay for promotion of the discussions in which they engage. Just like any marketer can go into Twitter — but sponsored tweets give them more prominence.”
Regardless of Gawker’s success, someone has to do something. The online advertising industry is the lifeblood of future journalism.
My only idea is to plead you to click on this link! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE. I’ll do anything! Please, I’ve got pets to feed!
Is the banner ad on the way out? How do you think journalism is going to bankroll itself in the digital age?