During the summer of 2004, Boing Boing was experimenting with sponsorship ads, partly to cover skyrocketing hosting costs and partly to make money. Underneath those ads was the text: Interested in Sponsoring? Email Us.
By August I was getting annoyed by the array of Suicide Girls ads showing up next to my beloved Boing Boing, so I decided to let them know. This is the email I sent.
Date: Sat, 21 Aug 2004 17:04:05 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: sg ads distracting
The SG ads on boingboing are distracting. I have no problem with SG or porn, but I’d rather they not encroach on my ability to focus on the boingboing content.
Which makes me think about all the other “ads”. Typepad, O’Reilly, Wired. I have no problem with the BB editors hawking their books, but the real ads are boring. They are too static. They are the antithesis of a frequently updated blog like boingboing.
So why not create a means for frequently updated, user-submitted ads. Think of it as adwords meets blogs. People submit a small text add plus URL, and for a buck (via paypal, credit card?) it sits at the top of the right hand column. Maybe you ensure that it will be displayed for at least X page views, and then the next one will appear on top. Maybe you’ll display five at once and they scroll through as each hits its max page
Just a thought.
I remembered writing this (presumably to Mark Frauenfelder) because last month (exactly two years after I sent it) I implemented the ability to sell and serve flat rate text ads in Federated Media’s advertising platform—which manages Boing Boing’s ads.
Here’s the part that really bakes my noodle. Turns out that the Interested in Sponsoring? Email Us text linked to the email address of John Battelle, founder of Federated Media, who it turns out I had actually sent the email to (not Mark).
Which means that two years ago I had an idea, and two years later I implemented it, now working for the person I originally shared the idea with.