Free Advertising Experiment – Month One…

At the beginning of January, we decided to run an experiment where we'd offer free advertising space on our blog. As we end the first full month of the experiment, we think we've had a pretty good start to the experiment, and would like to share some of the details on what's happened so far.

First of all, we had to actually take the idea of running free ads, and turn it into something we could manage easily. We decided that for the format of our blog, we asked that the advertisers get us a web-friendly image that was 167 pixels high by 200 pixels wide. They would also need to get us a link to the website they wanted to direct the reader to. On our side, we needed to find a way that would rotate through the ads and make it fair for all of the advertisers. After scouring the Interwebs for a few minutes, I found a couple of scripts that would work on our  Blogger site. One was a rotating script that would run the ads in order, but would change the ad every 10 seconds or so. The other script was one that would randomly pick the ad whenever a page was loaded. I decided to go with the random script over the rotating script because it seemed to be the "fairest" way to run the ads. The rotating script didn't go to waste, however, as we used it to run some of our kudos for the blog (see the rotating images on the right-hand part of the page below the "Follow Us on Twitter" links.

I would have thought that we would have about a dozen or so potential advertisers right off the bat. And, we did have bites from about that many within the first week of the experiment. What was interesting, was that we had about half of those that were really interested, not get back with us once we said get us a link and an image and we'll post it. I found that to be interesting. I also found it interesting that some of the advertisers' links were directly to a site, while a couple of them had set up the links to track the amount of traffic coming from these specific ads.

Now that we're stepping into month two of the experiment, we're looking to bring in some new advertisers. If you're interested in free ad space on 3 Geeks, then contact me about it (I'll probably just tell you to get me a 167 x 200 ad and a link.) As with January, we're looking to encourage the growth of smaller, local or regional providers… but, we're pretty open minded, so even if you're a huge corporation, but are running something unique that would be of interest to those that read this blog, we'll talk with you about that, too.

I want to really thank the five inaugural advertisers (slash guinea pigs) in this experiment. Onit, PLI, Jones McClure Publishing, Kiiac, and CALI were all brave enough to trust us with their brand, and I hope that our little experiment has sent some new folks their way. Hopefully, we'll get a chance to put them back in the rotation later in the year.

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Tracy Thompson-Przylucki said...

Hi Greg. Very interesting experiment. I wasn't aware you had implemented this last month so thanks fopr the update. Two questions. 1) Are you planning to implement a revenue model once advertisers see some potential? 2) Why do you feel the random generator is more fair than the rotator? If I were an advertiser I'd prefer the rotator since a one-time visitor would have the possibility of seeing my ad if she remained on the page long enough. Someone who pops in and back out only sees a single ad.

Greg Lambert said...


We don't have any plans to go to a pay model (mostly because we don't want the headache of figuring out what the tax implications would be and how to split that amongst three people... and the fact that we're just a little bit lazy.) ;-)

I tried the rotating ad script for a few days, but I found it to be a little bit annoying. It also ran in the same sequence, so if your ad was fifth in line, the reader would only see it if they remained on the site long enough for the rotation to loop through.

I guess I could ask the next round of vendors their opinion on the rotating vs. random ad script. Perhaps they would favor the rotating as well??

Tracy Thompson-Przylucki said...

Interesting. We have a rotating image on our website and it suffers from the same shortcoming. It always starts on the same first image. I'm guessing you didn't find an alternative that chooses a different random image to start and then rotates through in order? Is that too much to ask for?

Greg Lambert said...

Maybe there's some javascript gurus out there that can help us out!!


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