Jaffe has conducted an apparently successful, and very interesting, experiment on his podcast Across the Sound. Jaffe threw out the idea that if a company would give him an iPhone, he'd let them sponsor an episode of Across the Sound. Jaffe said he got an offer within an hour of the show going live, and has already bought his iPhone. The company that agreed to sponsor the episode has even gone in with Jaffe and issued a press release. Jaffe is now hinting that he wants to offer a month-long sponsorship, for a new laptop.
I think this is an interesting idea, and could be a new way of looking at blogger compensation. But the area that concerns me with this, and most forms of blog-monetization, is that while the blogger and company directly benefits, the reader doesn't. What does the average reader of Jaffe Juice or listener to Across the Sound get from Jaffe getting an iPhone? Nothing that I can see.
But should they? I'm not begrudging Jaffe getting an iPhone at all, in fact I think it's a stroke of genius, and I would bet most of his readers/listeners do as well. But I think if we can find a way to talk about blog monetization that benefits the readers as well, then we'll have a winner.
And I'm not sure that blog ads are the way to go. In some cases they can work (I like what Chris has done by running ads for Netflix and movie posters at Movie Marketing Madness), but in most cases it seems that ads are intrusive and don't enhance the reader's experience.
So I'm thinking that maybe content is the way to go. But not the Pay-Per-Post tit-for-tat model. What do you guys think about this idea:
Let's say Target has a blog (do they?) that they want to be profiled in the Company Blog Checkup series. They agree to give me a gift certificate for X amount of dollars (which is of course disclosed by me) if I will profile their blog in the Company Blog Checkup series. Fine, there's the direct benefit for me, and for Target.
So now we need to incorporate a benefit for the community of readers. Let's say that part of the deal with Target also includes that representatives from the blog agree to come here and respond to comments left by readers to the blog checkup post. And after a set amount of time, Target will pick the reader comment that they feel was the most constructive to them, and award that reader a gift certificate as well (which is again, disclosed upfront)!
This way, everyone benefits twice. One reader and myself both get a Target gift certificate. Target's blog gets exposure here. Target also gets a ton of great advice from the community and myself on how to improve its blogging efforts. And myself and the readers also benefit from the great comments making the post more interesting.
I think this is the way to go with blog monetization, so that all three parties benefit. This is just an example, I think the key is to find a way to incorporate a direct benefit to the readers as well.
Speaking of readers, what say you? What are your thoughts on blog-monetization? Does an example like the Target blog work for you, or are you just fine with Jaffe's iPhone deal? Or can you think of other examples that could directly benefit readers as well? I really think this is an interesting topic and that there's probably a way to make it a winning situation for everyone.
Tags:The Viral Garden, Marketing