BlogAds vs. Google AdSense

Reading MarketingFix this morning I followed a link to the Blogads service, then another to a criticism of Google AdSense. It’s interesting that these appeared on the same day since the two services are trying to serve the same market, but using totally different approaches.

BlogAds, which I’ll admit I was unfamiliar with before this morning, is taking an old-fashioned “media buying” approach to selling ads on blogs. They understand that advertisers, especially those looking to build brand awareness, do not see media placement as a commodity. The accepted paradigm of buying “traffic” or clicks is ill-suited to many advertisers, for whom the quality of the publisher site is an important factor in the media buying process. To accommodate this buying behavior BlogAds allows the media buyer to browse the exact sites and the exact descriptions used to frame the advertisements before placing any orders. For example, the order page for AmishTechSupport looks like this:

And now a few words from our cherished sponsors…
Category: blogging, commentary, death, humor, Judaism, life, news, politics.

Offering media buyers this much detail and this granular a buying process is the polar opposite of Google’s AdSense program where the media placement is entirely algorithmic and buyers have no ability to really understand the context and branding of the ads being purchased. In the Google system it is the economy of scale in media buying which is the powerful selling point. But, as many observers have pointed out, the media buyers will only accept this economy of scale if the click-through rate and click-to-buy ratios remain healthy.

So while BlogAds will live or die based on the quality of their publisher partners, Google’s AdSense will be judged by the quality of the results. Should be interesting to see where the money flows.