I’m sure our Luca’s sick and tired of people having a pop and I’m not about to re-visit that Ersnt & Young report; I’ll let these boys do that – http://adrianmonck.blogspot.com/2008/03/can-consultants-save-national.html and, whilst you’re there, http://virtualeconomics.typepad.com/virtualeconomics/2008/03/solets-demolish.html.

And I was thinking about this the other day as we started to wander our way around this whole local advertising thing.

Because the other model that appears to have slipped under the Ernst & Young radar is PPM. Has anyone actually done PPM yet? It’s pay-per-month.

It’s very simple. Me and/or Kev wander into a local advertiser and, say, ‘Here you are, fella, give us a 150 notes and you can be on our site for a month…’

What can then follow is a conversation that would make Jeff Jarvis’ head spin and our new best pal Luca reach for his triangles.

But it’s a conversation that again needs to be slipped into next autumn’s course-work because out there – where the metal meets the meat, so to speak – it’s a conversation that the next generation of local, self-financing journalists need to have.

Because not everyone they encounter will, actually, have a website. But they may still recognise a good, banner placement opportunity when they see one.

And for all those thousands and thousands of little local firms out there who have known nothing else but advertising in their little local paper, you have to hold them by the hand and lead them oh-so gently across the great divide and into this whole new world of digitally-based advertising.

These are busy people; with small ad budgets and even less time than most to worry about the latest CPM rates; PPC ratios, etc, etc… We’re back to Ady and the man from Google. Out there, down Sprowston Road and up Martineau Lane, you just make their lives as easy as possible.

And if they have grown up paying £250 for one night in an evening newspaper, then the next step is to say: ‘OK, how about £150 for 31 nights on a local website…’

Gently, gently catchee monkey… Let’s start with PPM. Let’s go from there.

Here, you go Luca. Take yourself up Aylsham Road – if memory serves it’s just before the Bingo – and there’s a pawn-brokers. Good lads. Not yet got round to getting a website.

Busy people. Times are hard; business is up.

But you bring an ad-make up function to the party – and this is what our Nick down Norton Road knocks me out…


Now, it is not about to win any awards at some swish London bash; this isn’t Saatchi & Saatchi – this is a pawn-brokers half-way up Aylsham Road in Norwich; and he’s got a second place out Lowestoft way.

But to my little, local mind – that ad looks good.

And what is more important, that simple PPM ad makes that pawnbroker feel good.

I bet, quietly, he’s quite proud of his new – if not, first – web presence. After 30 years running virtually the same ad in the local paper, now he’s got that to show his family and friends.

Whether it actually drives him new business, who knows? Depends, as ever, as to whether or not he asks every customer who walks through his door where they saw his ad.

But it’s interesting – and very telling as to what you can actually do out there on the front-line; what models you can actually get to work at a local level. Cos if he actually likes the way his ad looks on-line, then there’s a sneak of a chance that come the end of his four-month PPM, he’ll book again.

Just like he used to do when the lad from the local newspaper used to pop his head round the door. ‘Same again..?’ he’d ask.

‘Yeh, go on then…’ they’d reply.

That’s how they’ve given local newspapers a living for donkeys years; that’s how – in part – they might, just, give local news websites a living, too.

It’s still mights and maybes. Ifs and buts.

But PPM and pawn-brokers; we ignore them at our peril. For let’s face it, way things are in our line of work, we may all need cash quick…

We haven’t mentioned banks yet. We will.

But on one of my little forays down to London, a mate of mine who helped me unearth Mexican Kev’s missing ‘millions’ from somewhere in mid-banking Atlantic introduced me to one of his best ‘blue sky thinkers’.

Nice lad, to be fair. And you could see he was Mr Blue Sky from the moment you walked into this open plan office. He was the one afforded enough space for a putting machine.

Anyway, I did the Mark I water lilies and long tails at him; he then did nice triangles at me.

Speaking to Kyle of www.scunnered.com fame at Paul’s JEECamp do last week, we discovered that we had at least one thing in common – we’d both had the triangle talk in the course of our various brushes with the banks. Maybe it was the same bloke; maybe he only does triangles.

Anyway, decent lad, etc… but we weren’t really on the same planet. We certainly didn’t talk the same language.

Which brings me – albeit in a roundabout way – to this little gem that popped up on www.journalism.co.ukhttp://www.journalism.co.uk/2/articles/531198.php – a lesson in how we should all be making money Google-style from those good people at Ernst & Young.

“The online revenue gap between nationals and Google is also evident if we consider that the latter could have generated £2.40 per UK unique user per month from its websites in 2007, compared to top newspaper websites’ £0.10 to £0.13,” said Luca Mastrodonato, media and entertainment analyst, Ernst & Young.

“This gap is an opportunity for newspapers as it shows that monetising online services in the UK is possible. But to do so, newspapers need to move away from the volume based CPM model towards more interactive ad models such as CPC (cost-per-click) or CPL (cost-per-lead)…

Far be it from me to stand up for either national or local newspaper industry, but I think Luca may be one of those that does triangles.

CPL – cost-per-lead – is something we ran courtesy of the OnLine Media Group here in Norwich.

I couldn’t get it to work.

I’m sure it does elsewhere, but when punters are on your site to read their football news, they don’t tend to buy a car insurance policy. Nor pet insurance. Bike insurance. Van insurance.

Nor do they order travel holiday brochures. Or even order bottles of wine. Not even if you’re offering 50% off a case of Virgin Wine.

The only thing, at the time, that the whole CPL thing gave me was access to a whole load of nice-looking banners that ran through the site and made me and our Kev look like the ad salesman of all time. Cash-wise? I’d like to say not a bean; it wasn’t a bean, it was peanuts.

Having just logged into my cobwebbed account, I can arm Luca with our up-to-date ’08 figures for the Virgin Wines offer we ran through the www.myfootballwriter.com/ipswichtown site until, that is, we got Ipswich Audi on board last month. Here we are, 29,624 impressions for 18 clicks… validated transactions? That would be nil, Mr Waghorn.

Half price cases of wine off a footie site. Not a taker in sight.

Because people don’t come to a football site to buy a case of wine… You come to a football site to read about football.

Just as when you go to a news site, you go there to read about news. Not to buy wine. Or car insurance. Or pet insurance.

OK, maybe it was me.

Here we go – another exercise for Paul’s kids when it comes to teaching journalism by teaching advertising.

First story that grabbed my eye when on the Guardian home page; I was in that ‘I’ve got a mo…’ mood; I’ll go see what’s happening in the world…


The Guardian runs the smartest piece of adsense-type advertising software around that story and what on earth in that story is ever going to encourage anyone to click-through somewhere? They’ll click on the embedded video; that’s an advertising ‘click through’ model, for sure.

But only cos they’ve still got their ‘news’ hats on; nothing else.

I guess we can rule out the ‘Trekking in Tibet’ buttons; B&Bs in Lhasa… in fact the only possible thing that crossed my mind came from the last line….

“The Dalai [Lama] is a wolf in monk’s robes, a devil with a human face but the heart of a beast…”

At a push, you might get a couple of clicks on a Fancy Dress place. Otherwise, don’t work.

Not on news; not on football. People aren’t in the mood.

Ernst&Young. Bet they do triangles.