Jeff Burkett – WashingtonPost.Newsweek Interactive blogs

Posted on 02. Oct, 2007 by in Money

Introduction and Narrative: The idea that eventually became the Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive (WPNI) Blogroll Ad Network formed a year ago this August. It began from a series of blog posts Burkett wrote addressing the question of how to place advertiser’s content that doesn’t fit on the paper or website of a traditional news organization with its emphasis on reporting timely news. The Blogroll program that Burkett created matches ads with content produced by bloggers who write about every niche under the sun. “The thought is – we need them because they provide quality specific content that our advertisers want and they benefit from increased exposure, so it would be a win win situation,” says Burkett. The WPNI Blogroll Ad Network was created as an experiment to play around in this territory and create a stronger connection with the blogosphere.

The WPNI Advertising Sales Department sells advertising packages for the 100+ bloggers who are part of their network. The bloggers, chosen from over 1,500 applicants, have the ability to accept or reject the ads and receive 60 percent of the money that is made from the sales. Advertising sales have been made to Luftansa , Marriott, Slingbox, etc. “It’s a way for bloggers to make some revenue — and it’s an opportunity for them to get on our homepage,” says Burkett.

Main Goal: The number one goal is to acquire content for advertisers that washingtonpost.com normally wouldn’t editorially produce. The bloggers who are part of the network have no editorial restrictions. The second goal is to experiment and build relationships within the blogosphere.// “,1] ); D([“mb”,”\u003cspan class\u003dq\>\n\u003cdiv dir\u003d\”ltr\”\> \u003c/div\>\n\u003cdiv dir\u003d\”ltr\”\>Notable Achievements: \u003c/div\>\n\u003cdiv dir\u003d\”ltr\”\>The number of applicants: The Blog Ad Network received 1,500 \napplicants in the first two weeks. Today it has garnered over 2,000. But it \nremains a side project, a test to see, across the company, if it should be \nsomething that should move beyond a side project. \u003c/div\>\n\u003cdiv dir\u003d\”ltr\”\> \u003c/div\>\u003c/span\>”,1] ); D([“mb”,”\u003cspan class\u003dq\>\n\u003cdiv dir\u003d\”ltr\”\>A Surprising Realization: \u003c/div\>\n\u003cdiv dir\u003d\”ltr\”\>Beyond the number of people that initially applied, Burkett was \nsurprised to find that most weren't interested in the money. "It's not about it \nbeing an advertising network, for them it's about being associated with us and \ngetting a little bit more traffic. So many people were willing to work with us, \na traditional news company," says Burkett.\u003c/div\>\n\u003cdiv dir\u003d\”ltr\”\> \u003c/div\>\n\u003cdiv dir\u003d\”ltr\”\>Biggest Practical Lesson/Mistake: \u003c/div\>\u003c/span\>”,1] );
// ]]>

Notable Achievements: The number of applicants: The Blog Ad Network received 1,500 applicants in the first two weeks. Today it has garnered over 2,000. But it remains a side project, a test to see, across the company, if it should be something that should move beyond a side project.

A Surprising Realization: Beyond the number of people that initially applied, Burkett was surprised to find that most participants weren’t interested in the money. “It’s not about it being an advertising network, for them it’s about being associated with us and getting a little bit more traffic. So many people were willing to work with us, a traditional news company,” says Burkett.

// They underestimated the amount of time it would take to get blogs \nup and running in the program. Reviewing the blogs for acceptance, \nanswering questions about the agreement and getting the ad tags installed took a \nlot more effort than originally thought. \u003c/div\>\n\u003cdiv dir\u003d\”ltr\”\> \u003c/div\>\n\u003cdiv dir\u003d\”ltr\”\>Money: \u003c/div\>\n\u003cdiv dir\u003d\”ltr\”\>Compared to what has been invested into it, the program has been \nprofitable. The success of it is primarily based on The Washington Post's brand. \n"It didn't take us much to get this thing started," says Burkett. "But I'm not \nrunning around telling everyone this is something they should definitely \ndo."\u003c/div\>\n\u003cdiv dir\u003d\”ltr\”\> \u003c/div\>\n\u003cdiv dir\u003d\”ltr\”\>Now \u003ca href\u003d\”http://washingtonpost.com\” target\u003d\”_blank\” onclick\u003d\”return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)\”\>washingtonpost.com\u003c/a\> knows what it might take to get it to the \nnext level but for now the Ad network remains an experiment to learn from.\u003c/div\>\n\u003cdiv dir\u003d\”ltr\”\> \u003c/div\>\n\u003cdiv dir\u003d\”ltr\”\>Future Goals: The program is still up in the air. Burkett continues \nto advocate it and use it in his sales process and build relationships with the \nbloggers that are part of the network. But a lot of the future is still to be \ndecided.\u003c/div\>”,1] );
// ]]>

Biggest Practical Lesson/Mistake: Burkett underestimated the amount of time it would take to get blogs up and running in the program. Reviewing the blogs for acceptance, answering questions about the agreement and getting the ad tags installed took a lot more effort than originally thought.

Money: Compared to what has been invested into it, the program has been profitable. The success of it is primarily based on The Washington Post’s brand. “It didn’t take us much to get this thing started,” says Burkett. “But I’m not running around telling everyone this is something they should definitely do.”

Now washingtonpost.com knows what it might take to get it to the next level but currently the Ad network remains an experiment to learn from.

Future Goals: The program is still up in the air. Burkett continues to advocate it and use it in his sales process and build relationships with the bloggers that are part of the network. But a lot of the future is still to be decided.

// \n\u003cdiv dir\u003d\”ltr\”\> \u003c/div\>\n\u003cdiv dir\u003d\”ltr\”\>"This would all sound crazy if I was running a business unit, but \nour goal when we started was really just to see what we would learn and what \nwould happen and then maybe take those learnings and do other things," says \nBurkett.\u003c/div\>\n\u003cdiv dir\u003d\”ltr\”\> \u003c/div\>\n\u003cdiv dir\u003d\”ltr\”\>What do you hope to get from people attending this \nconference?\u003c/div\>\n\u003cdiv dir\u003d\”ltr\”\>"I'm on the commercial side — I'd love to hear more ideas from \nbusiness people about how they are using and benefiting monetarily from citizen \njournalism — how they are growing audience and any crazy ad ideas they \nhave."\u003c/div\>\n\u003cdiv dir\u003d\”ltr\”\>\u003cbr\> \u003c/div\>\u003c/span\>”,1] ); D([“mb”,”\n\u003cdiv dir\u003d\”ltr\”\>\n\u003chr\>\n\u003c/div\>\n\u003cdiv dir\u003d\”ltr\”\>\u003cfont face\u003d\”Tahoma\” size\u003d\”2\”\>”,1] ); D([“mb”,”\u003cspan class\u003dq\>\u003cb\>From:\u003c/b\> David Cohn \n[mailto:\u003ca href\u003d\”mailto:dcohn1@gmail.com\” target\u003d\”_blank\” onclick\u003d\”return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)\”\>dcohn1@gmail.com\u003c/a\>]\u003cbr\>\u003c/span\>”,1] );
// ]]>

“This would all sound crazy if I was running a business unit, but our goal when we started was really just to see what we would learn and what would happen and then maybe take those learnings and do other things,” says Burkett.

What do you hope to get from people attending this conference?

“I’m on the commercial side — I’d love to hear more ideas from business people about how they are using and benefiting monetarily from citizen journalism — how they are growing audience and any crazy ad ideas they have.”

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