April 5th, 2006
I’ll resist the temptation to say I told you so about big brand advertisers not wanting to take the risk of appearing next to questionable content on MySpace, other Web 2.0 sites, and ad networks (although I did tell you). Articles on this phenomenon are appearing more frequently, the latest from the Wall Street Journal:
Most ad networks say they review the sites in their network regularly to check for inappropriate content. But David Herpers, chief marketing officer for Amerisave Mortgage Corp. says he bought an ad that appeared on MySpace from a network that promised to run them on “loans and money and finance” sites. Yet in the past month, Amerisave learned that its ad was adjacent to a photo of the male anatomy on a page on MySpace. “It’s really alarming….I had no idea that this could conceivably happen,” Mr. Herpers says.
Oh, the naivety all around. Here’s another priceless example:
Glitches have occurred for mundane reasons. The Christian Children’s Fund bought ads on the largest online ad network, Advertising.com, which is owned by AOL, and specified that the ads not appear near any provocative content. But Advertising.com says it mistakenly turned off its content filters for an unspecified period of time last month, and the Christian Children’s Fund ad ended up next to an article about a sexual position in the sex section of About.com, which is owned by New York Times Co. The Disney ads were also placed by Advertising.com on About.com’s sex section during that time.
The best part is that News Corp (finally looking out for it’s shareholders), is taking a giant step back from all the messiness of user-generated content and Web 2.0:
MySpace, which is owned by News Corp., says that the personal Web profiles by its more than 50 million members can be racy. But it’s building new sections of the site for movies and music. “You’ll see us roll out more and more traditional controlled content of the kind that advertisers expect,” says Ross Levinsohn, president of Fox Interactive Media, which oversees MySpace.
So it’s all about CONTROL — hmm, where have I heard that before?
Let me be clear — I’m NOT saying that advertisers should not or will not ultimately cede control (although when they do, they need to be careful with products that people hate). I’m saying that until they do, it’s going to be a huge barrier to Web 2.0 profits.