Wine Blogs Attracting Advertising
I count upwards of 160 wine blogs listed on Wine Blog Watch. This means there are at least 200 to 250 wine blogs/podcasts rolling around the Internet.
A small number of these, a very small number, have either begun accepting advertising or actively sought out sponsorships and ads for their site. I think this is a positive development.
While it’s not always the case that the best, highest quality media, attract advertisers, it usually is the cases. Quality attracts an audience and an audience attracts advertising. It’s also true that advertising usually acts to heighten quality even more. Publishers who have advertisers know they are working not only for themselves and their audience, but for their advertisers too. This tends to push them to work even harder.
Tim Elliot of WineCast, and outstanding, education-oriented wine podcast, recently announced he had sighed up with Back Beat Media, an ad brokering company. They will sell and serve ads onto Tim’s site and podcasts. There are a few such ad brokers that have sprung up to work with and serve ads to blogs. BlogAds is the largest and most successful. BlogAds creates "networks" of subject-oriented blogs that advertiser can choose to advertise across or pick and choose those they want to advertise on. One of the networks they maintain is a "Foodies" network that offers advertisers food and wine (1) blogs.
By the time this year is over I think you’ll a good number of wine blogs accepting advertising. The quality of wine blogs and the readership continues to grow at a pretty good clip. This is good for readers as well as blog publishers. I’ve always believed that whether it’s winemaking, sports, arts or blogging, as the community’s overall quality and ability blossoms, it forces the remaining community to work harder. I know I for one am inspired when I see various wine blogs put out great content.
“It’s also true that advertising usually acts to heighten quality even more. Publishers who have advertisers know they are working not only for themselves and their audience, but for their advertisers too. This tends to push them to work even harder.”
This strikes me as a uniquely P.R.-based perspective. Some of the highest quality periodicals are those that don’t take advertising from outside companies. Think Cook’s Illustrated (back when they were good), or The Art of Eating. The latter is considered the best food and wine magazine out there, and the former has always been respected for its straightforward reviews of products. Likewise Consumer Reports. Compare that to Bon Appetit, or even Saveur, where it can be hard to figure out where the ads stop and the features begin.
I think magazines, and their readers, suffer precisely when they have to start working for their advertisers as well.
I’m not making any pronouncements about blogs and advertising; I don’t think the marketers and the writers have quite figured each other out enough in this space.
I agree with Derrick’s comments and I also wonder where a blog’s loyalties lie once it starts taking advertising….?
Ha! Cynics all of you.
While I see the obvious difference between advertising and reader subscriptions, I think they both act the same way upon the publisher. When you have a group of people who are paying you to read your words or to be seen in your publication I believe it motivates you to satisfy the expectations and the acknowledgement that come with both.
That’s what Im refering to when I say that having ads on your site are likely to make your blog better.
As for ads influencing content, it’s pretty easy to see that when it happens, particularly if you are a long time reader. I don’t assume that ads automatically call into question the publisher’s integrity.