What did you learn about the ad business having been with a technology company that operated a media business model?
At end of day, cut the crap about targeting, I was making $2 million a month in ad sales, and roughly half that was selling the index page. We had a 900 x 250 ad unit with rich media and a skin. It was what advertisers wanted to buy. I made $100,000 a day selling our homepage. All our other pages were basically low-end garbage no one wanted to pay for. We either ran networks or no ads. I assumed there would be amazing things we could do and that a page view was a page view. I was selling integrations on the homepage that were rich media, flashy stuff. The notion that I had an infinite supply of inventory of high value was dead wrong. A page view isn’t a page view. I also learned international traffic is worthless. What percentage of Twitter and Facebook’s traffic is in Southeast Asia? You need to rely on your U.S., U.K. and European user bases to make enough margin to carry all your worthless foreign traffic. It’s a Faustian bargain. The people you need to keep the most you have to show the most ads. It has to be in the U.S. and surrounded by good content. That’s why Twitter is doing goofy stuff like doing a video series. Once you are there, you are off the reservation. This is the MySpace slippery slope. You become a media and entertainment company. But if you purport to be an open platform and are producing reality shows, something weird happened.
From Brian Morrissey’s interview with Dalton Caldwell “The Case vs. Ad-Supported Platforms”
This is a great piece that I’m a little late to. A lot of truth to this particular statement from my experience at CNET. I think the one caveat is that with a site like CNET you can carve out other valuable real-estate in addition to the high reach home page based on contextual relevance. If you have a general interest property, like Caldwell’s imeem, not all page views are created equal.