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Blogad and Politics

Chuck Kuffner summarizes a salon.com article and various discussions about blogads. He writes:

Losing candidates, whether they intend to run again later or were just running this time to “get their ideas out there”, can similarly maintain a microphone and an audience. They may not get a paid pundit deal like Howard Dean has done, but continued blogging will enable them to test, refine, and repeat their message for as long as they want to broadcast it. Once again, it’s a very cheap form of networking and public relations.

This actually is a brilliant idea and perhaps is even a logical extension of my previous call for webloggers to get into politics. It makes sense to advertise to weblog-readers for products in which you want to start a trend or reach the trend-setters, because let’s face it, bloggers can shape opinions (and even mainstream media). It is a good idea for webloggers to find new ways to make money, especially for people like me who have nothing better to offer to the world than our thoughts and ideas. In the literary blogging world, it’s already apparent that blogging could potentially lead to book deals, a reputation and even a marketing machine to get people to buy your book. In other fields, blogging can be a way to establish expertise among peers or simply to make strangers aware of what talents you possess or what services you can perform.

A year or two ago I wrote an essay about web communities and how to make money. For advertising to work, you need two things. First, a fairly segmented audience with special interests and perhaps limited to a certain geographical area. Second, you need better data about your users! That is proving to be next to impossible; why would users register (and take an online survey) just to read the articles on your site?

I’m in the process of putting together an ezine, and this is the part which may prove the most difficult to realize. How do you encourage users to disclose data about career/interest/geography without being intrusive? As an individual running an online publication, I don’t care about individual data; I don’t want to identify individuals, but on the other hand, I’d love accurate information about users to use for soliciting advertising. Maybe big corporate websites can do this, but smaller ones cannot (especially if they are nonprofit, etc). There is a need for some third party survey service that can gather demographic data about users for a registration to succeed.

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