Note: This column represents the opinions
of the writer and as such, is not represented as fact|
According to recent reports (IDG),
local online publishers are lamenting the demise of the independent Web rating
service previously offered by AC Nielsen.
the contents of Aardvark's "million-dollar ideas" notebook
are revealed for all to see!
It appears that they're scrambling to try and find some kind of replacement
service to fill the void that has been left.
I suspect that the desire to do so is driven by a perception that they must
adopt the standards and practice of broadcast and print publishers --
but is this really necessary?
Need Cutting-Edge Copy?|
As NZ's longest-running online commentator, I'm looking for
extra syndication opportunities for this daily publication -- or I'm happy
to write casual or regular material specifically to order for print or
Net-based publications. If you're
interested, drop me a line
I have to wonder whether there really is a need for "online ratings"
After all, as we learnt in the dot-com crash of 2000, the size of your
audience means far less than the sensibility of your business model. Some
of the most popular sites came crashing down when it became apparent that
they had no formula for converting eyeballs to revenue.
And, unfortunately for online publishers, the huge breadth, volume and ready
accessibility of online information has made the ad-funded publishing model
a real lame duck. It was proven many times over that, even when ad-sales
are strong, it is still very common for the cost of producing and delivering
a page to a visitor to be higher than the revenue it can produce from advertising.
The services offered by companies such as AC Nielsen are valuable when you're
dealing with a medium such as radio or TV -- simply because the publisher/broadcaster
has no other way of determining just how many people they're reaching.
The Net is a whole different beast however, and one of its major strengths,
from the perspective of an advertiser, is its ability to provide a very
accurate indication as to the size of the audience reached.
Of course it's not only raw volumes of audience that are important to advertisers --
they also want to know how many "qualified" prospects they are reaching. In
the broadcast area, this type of targeting can be quite difficult to achieve
without the type of demographic material provided by the ratings companies but
on the Net it's nowhere near as hard.
Information on the Internet tends to be far more precisely stratified than
it is in a newspaper or on TV/radio.
For instance, you can bet your bottom dollar that almost everyone who visits
this site has an interest in the Internet, and there's a better than even
chance that they're employed in the industry.
By comparison, there's no similar way of telling how many people watching the
6 pm news on TV1 are workers in the local Net industry -- unless you call on
the services of the ratings companies.
Then there's the information that can be delivered by the ad-servers which
deliver online advertising to your screen. If properly configured, they can
tell exactly how many people saw an advertisement and how many of those
actually responded by clicking. That's the type of information that just can't
be gathered from any other medium.
What publishers should be doing perhaps is using an independent ad-serving
organisation whose records are regularly audited. This company could then
provide advertisers with the effective audience of those sites to which it
served ads, and it could also provide an unbiased report on the effectiveness
of that advertising.
Perhaps such an organisation ought to be set up as a not-for-profit operation
by the same consortium of online publishers that are planning to meet shortly.
I'm sure the advertising agencies would just love to have a single, consistent
point of placement for their clients -- saving them the hassle of dealing
(at a technical and creative level) with several different publishers.
It would also be quite nice to have a system where advertisers could throw
a percentage of their placements into a pool operated by this organisation,
and for which different publishers could bid so as to fill gaps in their
inventory. Such a system would be a win-win for both advertiser and
Then there's the issue of why on earth advertisers and online publishers are
still using plain, flat, one-way advertising in the form of banner and
display placements. Good grief -- we're dealing with the most interactive
mass-media ever developed, yet everyone still treats it like a piece of
shiny paper or a slow TV broadcast.
Of course banner/display ads don't work, no matter how irritating, intrusive
and annoying you make them. Why on earth don't we see some creative thinking
out there? I have a list of suggestions as long as your arm as to how online
advertising can be more interactive and engaging -- and therefore more effective.
Maybe these ideas won't float -- after all, I can't admit to being an "expert"
in the field. The most popular online publication I've every created and
operated only got 2 million hits a day ;-)
It's Still Free -- So Pay Up!
Every month, Aardvark scores over half a million hits, at least 150K page views and
delivers more than 6GB of data to visitors.
All this traffic has meant that I've had to shift the site to a new server
to ensure that your daily dose is always fresh and delivered to your
browser with minimal delays.
I also invest over 300 hours per year writing the daily column and compiling
the day's news index -- all for your illumination and entertainment.
If you haven't sent any money to help offset the costs of running this
ad-free, 100% Kiwi, always fresh, often controversial site then you can give
yourself the warm-fuzzies this Christmas by doing so now.
Just drop by, click on the Aardvark, and
hand over your loot.
Add Aardvark To Your Own Website!
Got a moment? Want a little extra fresh content for your own website or
Just add a
to your pages and you can get
a free summary of Aardvark's daily commentary -- automatically updated
each and every week-day.
Aardvark also makes a summary of this daily column available via XML using
the RSS format. More details can be found
Contact me if you decide to use either of these feeds and
have any problems.
Did you tell someone else about Aardvark today? If not then do it
There are 2 new Vacancies (14 January 2002) In The Job Centre
There are 14 Domain Names for sale