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Monday, December 05, 2005 

More On PJM Advertising

Over the weekend we emailed PJM Corporate about why their ads are hosted by doubleclick. As of this writing we've gotten no response. If we hear nothing by the end of tomorrow we'll likely bother PJM Principles Roger L. Simon and Charles Johnson, as well as blogger-relations PJMer Baldilocks. We'll keep you posted on any new developments.

It appears that Simon and Instapundit are still running the doubleclick-hosted PJM ads as last week. LGF, however, seems to be running two different Flash ads, one for SBC and one for Circuit City, through the PJM network. Both ads, best we can tell from out limited HTML skill, seem to be hosted by PJM rather than doubleclick (If we're wrong please feel free to correct us in comments). If this is indeed the case, it would mean that PJM is not exclusively piggy-backing off of an already established internet advertising system.

This adds another wrinkle, in that PJM could be positioning itself as both a reseller of ad-serving and an ad-server. This would make PJM fairly similar to DoubleClick's old format, before they spun off their marketing arm and focused exclusively on ad-serving from a technology stand-point. We still, however, question exactly why anyone would need this service.

If Jeff Jarvis is right, and small is the new big, one must wonder exactly what good a one-price-fits-all top-down advertising scheme for 70 blogs of varying interest and traffic is supposed to accomplish. There's a reason the New York Times and the Lake Oswego Review have different advertising rates: even were they owned by the same publisher that would no doubt be the case. If those two papers joined forces in some bizzaro universe, would it be to their benefit to set one advertising rate? Definitely not: using the NYT's rates would bankrupt the LO Review, because nobody is going to pay premium dollar for advertising in a local weekly, and by the same token using the LO Review rates would bankrupt the NYT because local weekly rates aren't going to cover their operating expenses.

PJM strikes us as the same sort of deal for blogs. Instapundit, Roger Simon, and LGF get far more traffic than YAYsports!, Solomonia or Swanky Conservative. Charging the same rate to advertise on all of those blogs seems madness. Now, there is the argument that hitting all 70 blogs for one low rate is enticing, and it's true that some people will find that appealing; however, there's no guarantee that the reader demographics are in the target audience, or that there's sufficient diversity in readership to warrant such expenditure depending on the rate. That is to say: the readership of Instapundit, Swanky Conservative, The Volokh Conspiracy, Vodka Pundit and Tigerhawk probably have a fair to high amount of overlap. Meaning that the "combined traffic" of each, in terms of unique individuals or households, is probably greatly inflated.

On the whole, this reminds us of the "we're all going to get rich through micropayments" excitement that once swept the on-line comics community, and the dot-com-era feeling that traffic = $$$. Remember, it took Amazon, one of the most successful on-line ventures of all time, five years to make it into the black, five years after the dot-bust of 2000, how likely is it that an internet start-up will be able to get five years worth of working capital out of anybody?

Tomorrow: How this all relates to TV.

UPDATE: Instapundit is now featuring ads for Victoria's Secret and Circuit City.

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