I run ads here. If you happen to be reading this page while it is still new, you won't see any ads, but once it is a few days old, the ads fill in. That was the best compromise I could make between wanting to be nice to the regulars and needing money to pay for my efforts. I think it works (I sure hope so!).
So, as you might guess, ad revenue is very important to me. As the Internet has matured, the value of advertising has declined: for this site, ad revenues have declined 10% every year in spite of increased visitors.. so I'm constantly looking for ways to regain that lost money.
Adsdaq caught my eye because it integrates well with the ads I'm already running. Basically it lets the website owner set a CPM price and if Adsdaq has advertisers willing to pay that, they run that ad, and if they don't, they revert back to your ordinary ads. Seems like a good idea (though I have better ideas; see below), so I use it. It hasn't made a big difference in income, but it is a tad better, so I keep it.
Of course the only reason I know that is because Adsdaq provides a reporting tool. As most such tools do, they provide drop down menus to get reports for Today, This Week, and this Month. Oddly, they don't have Yesterday, Last Week, or Last Month. You can get reports for any period you like using a Calendar tool, but that's a little clumsy.
So I wrote to their Director of Service and Sales and suggested that these would be useful to me. I got a response saying that yes, other customers had thought the same thing, and that "our product development team is currently working on that enhancement".
Um, come again? That's an "enhancement" that wouldn't take more than a minute of someone's time. Five minutes if they are a compulsive I have to stress test this" type. Ten if they have to document every change in triplicate. The report code is already in place. The menu structure is already there. This could be handed to the most incompetent programmer in the place and it would still turn out fine..
Oh, so it can't be that, right? It must be "We're working on more important things right now", right? Well, maybe, but that would be foolish - when customers want, customers should get. I think this is probably the more typical case of programmers not wanting to get bossed around by Sales, so passive aggression is the word of the day: "We're working on it". As the suits generally have little clue as to what is actually involved in adding something like this, they have to just fold their hands and wait.. ignorance robs them of power.
If I had any influence here, that kind of customer request wouldn't languish at the bottom of the "to do" list. There are some other things I think they should be doing, though, and those are a bit more difficult, but could make their service much more valuable for me and for them.
Effectively this is a reverse bid. It's conceptually the same as asking "Will you sell me your product for..", except of course I'm asking if someone else will PAY me a certain amount. Obviously I'd be a fool to ask for too much and equally a fool to ask for too little - and that's the problem: I only get one chance to bid. Oh, I can change my bid any time through the control panel, and that's of course the way most websites would be forced to use this, but those of us with full programmatic control could do much better. When we load a page, we could send an inquiry to Adsdaq saying "I'd like $5.00 per thousand now - is that possible?", and if the answer was yes, we'd take their ad, and if not, we'd run our own. That would let us accurately gauge the market each and every day - even adjust our bids hourly if that made sense. We'd run more of their ads, and of course would get closer to the maximum profit available - better for us, better for Adsdaq.
Now that's a change where Development could rightfully rear back and say "Hold on - that's not so easy!". I still think it would be a great idea - if Adsdaq doesn't do it, someone else should. But it would be a major adjustment..
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More Articles by Anthony Lawrence © 2012-08-02 Anthony Lawrence