My BlogAds pal – he of the ‘race to the bottom’ cheeriness – was right in one respect.
Once you get out here, it is all a numbers game. We are, indeed, entering ‘the Age of Quantification’.
And, as he suggested, for all us professional locals the numbers don’t add up.
Take, for example, our Google AdSense numbers since March ’07.
406,002 impressions, 846 clicks…. $223. So I did Google a disservice at JEECamp. Apologies. When I said $180 for 400,000 page impressions I was $40 out and 6,000 page impressions under. We made £110 in a year.
We took AdSense off www.myfootballwriter.com/norwichcity round about September. www.myfootballwriter.com/ipswichtown and www.myfootballwriter.com/colchesterunited have never run AdSense; it didn’t make any sense; by the time both launched, for better or worse we were giving ‘addiply’ a go.
AdSense remains sat there on the mother site, www.myfootballwriter.com in the hope that any passing Colchester United, Norwich City or Ipswich Town punter might want to buy some Champions League quarter-final tickets off www.acetickets.co.uk
Unlikely, I suspect, but as the publisher it’s one of those little straws that Google leaves me to cling to.
It’s somewhere about now that ‘Out With A Bang’ veers more towards ‘Shuffling Off With A Whimper’ as we start to tip-toe around the whole G-word issue.
Cos clearly, in many other aspects, we need to cling to their magic black box with a passion. It is, after all, how all-too many people get to find us in the first place. And where would any of us be without that Google searchlight to illuminate this infinite web darkness?
But when it comes to earning anyone a living off their local web toils, well, I’m sorry. I can’t get it to work.
Not on my numbers; great, sticky 436-second copy twice a day and all that, but £110 for every 400,000 page impressions… someone’s having a laugh.
Of course, Google has now got a new toy for us all to play with – Google Ad Manager. It has, says Mr Jarvis, the odd chink in its armour – one that is unlikely to make the life of the local publisher any easier in terms of sourcing local advertising.
Because for 400-odd years that’s what under-pinned the business model of local newspapers, local advertising. And that hasn’t changed; that’s still there; all that’s changed – albeit dramatically – is our reliance as journalists on the wood-stainers to distribute our thoughts.
Nor for that matter do the little local advertisers increasingly want to bother with the wood-stainers any more – not when they’ve got a nice, new shiny website to promote. Like Ady. And his skips. www.adysskips.com
But back to Google Ad Manager and our Jeff’s thoughts from www.buzzmachine.com…
“One big problem with its program is that it doesn’t share that data with the publishers and let them use it to more efficiently serve its ads. It also doesn’t share it with advertisers and let them take advantage of a more transparent marketplace.
“No, Google’s holding onto that information itself and, once again, becoming smarter than all of us. And I say that’s our own damned fault for not building our truly open ad marketplace. It’s not too late, but it soon will be…”
That’s why for the Ady’s of this world we built www.twadservices.co.uk – these people have been used to paying 500 notes for a half page ad in their local evening paper and seeing that half page ad on Page 17 on a Monday night. So when the Mrs does the books, Ady can point to where, exactly, that £500 went.
What, exactly, they got for their money. A half page. On Page 17. On a Monday.
www.twadservices.co.uk causes me, the publisher, a pain in the a*se cos armed with all his new figures from his own client log-in page, I have to explain to Ady why we’re unlikely to hit 1.3 million banners this month; that January was transfer window month; that Norwich are doing crap; Colchester are bottom of the table; Ipswich are falling away from the play-offs…
But look, Ady… there’s your new ad. We’ve made it a sky-scraper this time. And look, don’t worry about this cpm stuff; just give us 140 notes for the month… and we’ll bung you a month for free at the end.
Go back to New York and my pal with his race to the bottom, and his other gem was the battle was lost; the war was won; that before any of us had re-organised and re-grouped, Google would have an ad rep in every city and town in the UK.
Me and our Kev bust our proverbials to get Ady and his skips onto our site. The story was that he got a call from Mrs Huckerby one day, ordering a skip from an ad that she’d seen on-line somewhere…
I would pay a small fortune to watch a Google ad rep go and get an ad off Ady.
I would pay an even bigger fortune to watch a Google ad rep go and get money off someone like an Ady. He’s as good as gold; doesn’t owe us a penny. But most of these boys come from a generation – maybe that’s now passing – in which paying us out of what’s rolled up tightly in their back pocket was the norm.
Cos they’re a local. And that’s where our future lies. At an Ady’s door, not at Google’s.