This always happens. I start writing a post for a position, and I start coming towards the other position as I write it.

I recently had a lively e-mail conversation with support at Project Wonderful regarding what I should do to advertise on the web site. Well, not in so many words; I spoke of a hypothetical web site with a number of different sub-sites that were all approved, but with a main page that wasn’t. Their response was to simply take the ad box from one page and put that on the main page, and I wrote them back saying this didn’t solve the problem of which page to take an ad box from. Their response to that was:

You can do the following in this case. You can put different ad boxes on each page if you wish. That way advertisers in different industries can bid on pages that apply to them.

However, I wouldn’t advise doing this due to the following reasons

1) advertisers have to start selecting specific pages which may be a problem for them

2) By dividing your ad boxes into specific pages means that potential advertisers are
now dividing their possible exposure against all the other advertisers. Their piece of the pie will become dramatically smaller.

Theoretically, you want as many advertisers bidding for ad boxes across your whole site, not specific pages.

They make this point elsewhere, and I certainly see it. But they only pay lip service to the idea that “advertisers in different industries can bid on pages that apply to them”.

I’ve been approved for ads on Sandsday, a video game webcomic. Yesterday I applied for ads here, a sports site with an emphasis on American football. Specificly, nerdy esoterica relating to American football. Those are two very different constituencies, and an ad that appeals to one may not appeal to the other. Check that: almost certainly will have little appeal to anyone reading the other except me.

(Okay, I know that doesn’t sound like it’s that incompatible, but I imagine a future where I also have a site pertaining to politics, and another pertaining to history. I already have the 100 Greatest Movies Project and the Street Sign Gallery, where the only reason I’m not applying for those sites is because they don’t fit the design of the rest of the site.)

Isn’t Project Wonderful supposed to contain tools to make it easy to bid across several ad boxes at once? Instead of appealing to a+b and only getting some of a and some of b (or alternately, all of a and none of b), shouldn’t there be some people appealing to a and getting all of a, and appealing to b and getting all of b? So they can take advantage of the full value of a+b, and not just a some of the time and b the rest of the time? Doesn’t this negate some of the advantage PW has over, say, Google Adsense, and even give it potentially a disadvantage, because Adsense’s context-sensitive ads can present only the most relevant ads while PW’s preferred model requires you to appeal to however broad an audience is served by the whole site, even if it’s ridiculously broad?

Food for thought. Leave your responses in the comments.

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