Favoriting Ads (continued)

Sometimes you write a post asking for something and then months later you find someone has actually built it. That happened with my desire for a Flickr/Twitter integration that I posted about in June. By early August Dave Winer had built it.

Also in June (I guess I wanted a lot that month), I posted about the need for tools to engage with advertisments  like the way we engage with social media. I called the post "Favoriting Ads". It was a fairly popular post, it got 20 comments, and 7 links. A decent amount of "social media engagement".

So I was excited when I saw the idea implemented in the form of a company at Y Combinator’s demo day in early August. The company is called Adpinion and they have built a simple way to vote on ads. You will see one of their ads on this blog, right below the Federated Media banner ad on the right sidebar. Play with it, vote on some ads, save your profile, and let me know what you think.

It’s very early days for something like this. For this approach to work, they need a ton of ads. And they basically have none right now. It looks like they are just pulling items from Amazon and turning them into ads you can vote up or down on. But what we all really want is to be able to vote up or down on the Mastercard advertisement or the Financial Times ad, both of which have been in heavy rotation on this blog in recent days.

So I am not sure whether Adpinion should try to build an ad network of their own or if they should work with existing ad networks to add value to their inventory and help them target ads. Maybe what Adpinion has done is easy enough for existing ad networks to replicate and that’s what will happen.

But regardless of how this all plays out, I am thrilled to see banner ads with up/down buttons on them. It would be a wonderful thing if all banner ads on the Internet had them.

#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. Greg

    Thought that thing on the right looked a little tall, and I was right – the ad’s a standard IAB size, but they’ve tacked on another bit for the voting bar.If they can’t figure out a way to take an ad, add their voting bar, and get the entire thing to fit the standards, it’s a non-starter. Banner ad standards are ancient and they’ll break a lot of publisher pages.

    1. nickb

      Anyone inventing a new ad standard size is DEAD. Period. That’s why IAB standardized them in the first place. The only way this concept would work is if they overlay this stuff over an ad but that wouldn’t jive well with advertisers.In any case, this idea is naive.

  2. Fortino

    As much as I’d love to see an existing ad network replicate this technology, I’m having a hard time believing that they’d go ahead and do it simply because of the friction it would create with their clients.We both know the positive attributes of receiving feedback but I’m not so sure the average network is willing to tell their clients that their ads have been rejected by the community.

  3. Nate Westheimer

    Fred, I proposed a much different model to Eric Goldstein at Clipmarks. Have you ever played around with their service? You can clip images you like, videos you like, text you like. Now think about doing that for ads (which are either images, videos or text).Point is, it’s not very clear to me why I’m going to “vote” on an ad. But clipping an ad makes sense: Because I like it! Because I want to share it! Because I want a searchable history of ad I like.

  4. ppearlman

    i just cant see the 99+% of surfers, those not in the tcrunch50k, ever using this….

  5. kerry

    i don’t get it.voting on ads? i generally do that one of two ways: i click on the ad and end up buying something online; or it drives me to buy something offline. or perhaps it puts a smile on my face which helps brand awareness, since i will certainly remember it! But, vote on it? why???

    1. fredwilson

      it’s like bookmarking it. i often don’t want to be interrupted by clicking on something but i want to see it again so i might do that the next time

      1. NICCAI

        Fred, you hit the nail on the head with your reply – or just about. I have an idea that flirts with this that I think is closer to what is desired. With that said, I think voting is old as can be, and is already done via YouTube for commercials. Banner ads have no weight in this area – but perhaps your impression or interest in them does. Combining the intention of this idea (or maybe just your interpretation) with something along the lines of Last.fm has some merit – and potentially huge value to advertisers.Nate also tracks on this below (or below for the time being).

  6. nickb

    Voting on ads?! RIdiculous concept. People are already blind to ads, last thing I want is to waste MY time on giving them feedback. Heck, most people, if they see these ads in the first place, will vote them down so they go away.

  7. Dave Winer

    Fred, you’re really onto something here.I believe advertising will get:1. More useful.2. Better targeted.3. More entertaining.And when it’s done doing all this evolving it won’t be advertising anymore.It’ll be information.That’s why I say I don’t believe in advertising.Intruding is something we’re building incredible defenses against. Guarding our attention is almost a survival of the fittest thing. The people you most want to reach with your “message” will be the people with the highest barriers.

  8. Steve Poland

    I had a similar idea back in February, except it’s people (my friends/network) that are endorsing a product or company (fred, you’re even mentioned — http://www.techquilashots.c… ).But I don’t see why I’d vote on an ad — am I voting that it’s a great product/service being sold, or a whitty marketing message, or a great company? And what’s in it for me? I just ignore ads.

  9. Steven Kane

    not sure i grok this – the idea is to get people who wouldnt otherwise click an ad to click an ad? as a popularity contest?if people want to save or bopokmark ads, they can already do so wicked easilyalso, it seems to me that advertisers will blanche at this — as people who like an ad or are intrigued by it can show their feelings easily nough (click the ad) then the only people who will use such a service are those who want to disrespect the ad or product…?

  10. Anonymous

    This is probably the tenth time I’ve seen this over my time on the internet. Each time, it has flopped. If the average click rate on a display ad is 0.2%, what kind of click rate will the “arrows” get?Each time, I think this is a great idea, and each time, consumers don’t get so excited about it. Perhaps this one will be the winner…

  11. vruz

    It didn’t work in 1999, do you think it’s going to work now ?Apart from discussing whether this is a good idea, there’s many technological barriers to overcome, if the company wants to stay independent of the ads providers, so that they don’t depend on them for their bread and butter.It could be done with something like Mozilla’s Greasemonkey, (I’ve seen implementations of collaborative tagging and collaborative annotation of the public web based on GreaseMonkey and it works perfectly well) …. BUT: 1) it’s hard to convince people to install plug-ins, it should work out-of-the-box 2) it would only run on Firefox 8 (10% to 30% marketshare, depending where you look)There’s also a tougher problem, if the ad networks refuse to provide ads that are to be somehow manipulated or tweaked to inject code in them (adding buttons to them, for example). They could (perhaps justly) refuse to pay for clicks on those ads, Google for instance has a very tight policy about the quality of their Adsense ads. how they’re crafted, and where and when you can use them.How do they know it’s not a bad guy who’s tweaking the ads text ? That would require a trust chain…. and keys, and certificates…WOW… the thing gets more and more complicated.And that’s only HTML ads, wait for the new wave of Flash-based ads to overlay on videos, Flash SWF files are basically tiny programs in binary form, which are even worse suitable for third party tweaking.The hurdles are so high and I don’t see this happening for a variety of reasons. (technologically, legally, commercially and ethically speaking)Any evidence out there to support the opposing view ?

  12. compassioninpolitics

    I think this mashup will make great sense for real estate agents who want to provide quick & easily accessible pics to their clients.

  13. Greg Tallent

    We’ve got a classifieds ads website which shows submitted ads immediately! We found people were ‘gaming’ their ads onto the front page, so we have a voting system that puts ads on or pulls them off the front page. Works fine.

  14. riozen

    as they say in the terrestial world – you vote with your feet. in our virtual world the voting is overwhelming already.voters are rejecting ads that have too much motion, are too large or are placed in obtrusive positions in the text.so, following the dictum that the Internet paradigm is about “facilitation” not the old top-down paradigm of “control” – advertisers will have to be content to gather their BT in fewer rather than more ways.advertisers and agencies who do more with less will thrive.

  15. rick

    nevermind voting on ads, i’d like a place for people who think they can do advertising better than the agencies: video spots, banners, etc for real products created by regular people with a little creativity and time on their hands. might even turn into a business opp where agencies can pluck the best for a fee.

  16. rick

    i had implemented something similar but more detailed (survey) when at aol. look below the block ad on aol.com. advertisers apparently really appreciate the response but aol needs to dramatically shorten the survey.

  17. Jon Kelly

    There’s just no conceivable need for people to vote on ads this way. Users already vote on every ad every day — by deciding whether to click and then whether to buy the product advertised. The great thing about web advertising is that this is all very measurable. We’re very quickly moving to a pretty efficient market where high eCPM is the arbiter of quality. The only possible need for feedback from users is to report offensive advertising to protect the quality of the content provider’s site.