Whose going to help publishers? part II

ESPN made big news today. They decided to sell their ads directly and not use any ad networks. That was big news because many ad networks have been quite successful.

Lots of folks agreed that this was a good call.

I do think that publishers aren’t always getting the best deal. They either leave money on the table, or the ads don’t reflect the brand properly or publishers don’t get enough visibility. Last November I wrote about this challenge and felt like publishers weren’t getting enough value and they need help.

But the decision to go direct vs an ad network is different for different sites. Building an ad sales force isn’t easy. It’s expensive and good sales people aren’t always easy to find. And then they have to be managed like everything else.

Plus, even if you sell directly, most/if not all sites will have unsold ad inventory. And just because the publisher can’t sell it doesn’t mean it’s not valuable.

I think all sites would best served with a hybrid model. Sell sponsorships directly. Period. Then sell your best inventory directly if you can hire the best sales people. Then find the best ad network(s) to optimize the balance of your inventory. These are variables that should be dialed up and down depending on your size, audience and balance sheet. It’s not an all or nothing decision.

And there are some pretty amazing new technologies/companies that are emerging too that will help.

In fact there is one company in particular helping publishers manage these challenges in a big way. And I can’t wait to tell you more about it. But I can’t. At least not yet.

Stay tuned :)

Introducing SeriousCompacts

My brother Amin is a doctor and fellow at Johns Hopkins in MD. He has also been blogging about photography for some time. He recently recruited a few other enthusiasts and launched a new blog called SeriousCompacts.

Here’s his description of the site:

“Welcome to Serious Compacts. We are a photography site with a focus on advanced compact cameras. These days it seems that many people associate "serious” photography with the use of large, heavy gear. Our site will feature testing and discussion of the remarkable compact tools available to photographers. We will also highlight some of the outstanding work being done with this gear"

Check it out if you are getting the shutterbug and are looking for something more than what your cameraphone or point&shoot can offer but aren’t ready to step up to a pro camera or don’t want the bulk. Or if you are just a gear head :)

What’s all the fuss about Apple’s Safari update

The biggest thing on Techmeme right now is Apple’s decision to distribute their Safari browser on Windows to update Safari.

Lots of people are calling this close to malware since they believe many users won’t know what they are installing. John Lillly, the Mozilla CEO states:

“Apple has made it incredibly easy–the default, even–for users to install ride along software that they didn’t ask for, and maybe didn’t want. This is wrong, and borders on malware distribution practices.”

ReadWriteWeb calls it slimy spyware tactics.

I saw the implementation and it looks pretty clear to me that this isn’t spyware. There is nothing secret about this. Users simply get to check boxes to decide what they want or don’t want.

I don’t get the backlash here. Or maybe I just have thin skin :)