Word of Blog

Word_of_blogI first read about sell side advertising around this time last year and I’ve been stewing on the idea ever since.

As I described in my post on our investment in Indeed, we think job search will be one of the first places that the sell side advertising model gets real.

But we aren’t limiting our search for self serve advertising opportunities to job search.

A couple months ago in early July, a smart guy named Matt Turck walked into our office and showed us Word of Blog

Matt and a couple of smart programmers have built a very lightweight web service that does one thing pretty well.  Their project parallels comparable efforts by a sell side advertising service that  was built in France.

It’s like they had read Charlie’s 10 rules for building web services companies, even though Charlie just posted that one last night.

Here’s how Word of Blog works.

If you have a non profit you want to promote, go to Word Of Blog and post an advertisement for it along with a URL where you want to ad to link to.

Word of Blog will host your ad, make it available to bloggers to post on their blogs, and track the blogs that post it and the click thrus they generate.

That is all that Word of Blog does rigt now.

I thought it was neat and during our meeting, I posted an ad for Grameen Foundation on this blog via Word of Blog.  It’s in the upper right side column.

Neither Matt nor I had planned it, but we launched World of Blog that morning because within days, the service was spreading virally.

I have had 499 click thrus on my Grameen ad since then which is 10.4 clicks per day. 

For comparison, Adsense has only generated 399 clicks over the same time period.

And there is no fancy contextual targeting engine working at Word of Blog.

The reason this works is that I selected my ad because I believe in Grameen and I give it really good placement on my blog.

Anyone who wants me to promote their cause should post an ad at Word of Blog and I’ll run it if I like the cause.

I was curious to see if this would work for commercial ads as well.

Matt was kind enough to offer to run my house ads that had been running as text ads on the upper right of my blog.

So Return Path and iBiquity posted commercial ads on Word of Blog and the result has been pretty solid.

Return Path has gotten 335 click thrus on the two ads I’ve run for them in less than a month which is better than 10 per day.

That’s more in a week than I was giving them with my text ad since the beginnning of the year.

And the HD Radio ad that links to a $269 Radiosophy radio has gotten 56 clicks in about one week.  Assuming a 1-2% conversion and a 50% gross margin, those clicks are worth about $2 each.

That’s not too shabby.

My conclusion?

Sell side advertising works.

Word of Blog works best for now in the non-profit world because their is no commerce mechanism to get paid for click thrus.

But I am certain that they will build that if the market demands it.

I wrote a piece several weeks ago called posting, subscribing, and tagging.

That’s what I see Word of Blog doing over time.

Advertisers will post ads.

Bloggers and other publishers will subscribe to them by placing them on their sites.

And people will tag them to make them relevant.

I am interested to see if it pans out that way.

If you are an advertiser or a blogger, give Word of Blog a try and let me know what you think.

#VC & Technology