ThreadWatch, Contextual Ads, & Noise

Aug 12th

Recently NickW started testing IntelliTXT. I dislike those ads. The perfect example of why I think they suck is when the people from Vibrant Media posted "feel free to email us directly" and the word email became one of their green ad links.

The problem with those little green ads is that they are more noise, which goes counter to the less noise more signal tagline on the site.

The audience of ThreadWatch has some serious cash, but what they are most interested in that which is shared freely amongst friends.
The people you make money off are not necissarily going to be the same people who help build up the network though, but you still can leverage that market position and those friendships to help sell a related idea.

I think if Nick created a guide to community building and blogging it would get far more support than my ebook does.

One of Nick's friends said that he wouldn't want to let a guide to cloning ThreadWatch to get out there, but:

  • if they were smart enough to clone it they probably wouldn't need a guide

  • few people are going to want to work as hard as Nick has building up that site
  • few people have as many friends as Nick does
  • eventually the fakeness or cloneness comes out in the writing if people try to clone it
  • without a highly profitable business model few people will likely want to clone it
  • adding more and a wider variety of advertisements to that site goes counter to why it became successful
  • as you add noise you lose mindshare, and that is the only thing that will make it possible for others to duplicate ThreadWatch...if it becomes more noise less signal

The first version of my ebook was free and sucked, but over time it got better. If Nick threw something out there and was open to feedback then the people there would help make sure he was offering something they would want to recommend, plus they would be more invested into helping it become successful if they offered suggestions and feedback and his site saved them a bunch of time.

Even if Nick starts off as only a 10 or 20 page guide it can get reshaped and improved as time passes. The key is to just pick an idea and start writing about it. Some people who in the past sent me hate mail now point unrequested link into my sites in part because I accepted their feedback.

As search algorithms advance guides which help people do well with community interaction will have far more value than guides about algorithms and engines, because ultimately the algorithms and engines are just trying to emulate people. For many people it will be far easier to create something others want than to push something they don't.

Published: August 12, 2005

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Comments

August 12, 2005 - 1:34pm

I detest IntelliTXT. Doesn't mean I wouldn't use it on a site if the traffic was there of course but I think Threadwatch is the type of site that should avoid the use of this kind of invasive technology. Definitely a case of more noise, less signal.

Then again, I'm not the one paying for the hosting or trying to find ways to monetize the site.

I think Nick should write an eBook. "BlackHat Seo", perhaps? That would sell.

August 12, 2005 - 1:50pm

hehe..

I don't think i know enough to write about black hat techinques, and besides the guys at seoblackhat.com are doing a great job, for free!

>noise

You can find instructions to turn off the ads on the post you linked to. It's a simple proceedure, and please feel free to do so. The target is not the regular members, more random SE traffic :)

>ebook

Not a bad idea, but i'd probably opt for a subscription section of the site rather than an ebook - finding the time would be the killer...

August 13, 2005 - 2:06am

I think the market for the "Blackhat SEO" ebook is there. I've even fantasized about writing one myself.

The biggest hurdle would be managing the PR angle, and the inevitable cries of "Spammer!" from certain voices amongst the SEO cognoscenti.

August 13, 2005 - 5:29am

>You can find instructions to turn off the ads on the post you linked to. It's a simple proceedure, and please feel free to do so. The target is not the regular members, more random SE traffic :)

but if a few of the regular members quit participating because:

  • they are annoyed by the ads
  • they are annoyed by having their words edited
  • they are getting too busy to participate

and you also...

  • keep fresh blood out by throwing too many intrusive ads on the content which lowers the credibility of the site to random new visitors
  • make some people less willing to want to link because the site looks kinda over advertised

then you really don't have a longterm solution do you?

>Not a bad idea, but i'd probably opt for a subscription section of the site rather than an ebook - finding the time would be the killer...

I think the problem with you is the same problem with me. We are both willing to give away just about anything we would share. Hence subscription section could not have much additional value because it would mean some of the most useful and linkable posts would be hidden. Selling a linear guide however can still appeal to people while adding value in another way.

>I think the market for the "Blackhat SEO" ebook is there. I've even fantasized about writing one myself.

I think it would have to be priced north of $1,000 monthly recurring for there to be adequate value in that business model.

I have not dipped my toes in the water too deep on that end, but if I did I would expect to be able to make at least $100,000 a month, and would need serious change to sell that info to others just so they can compete with me and undercut the business model funding the research.

October 15, 2005 - 9:05am

Want to kill IntelliTXT?

If you run a personal firewall, add these to your deny list for URLs:

http://*intellitxt.com*
http://*hitbox.com*
http://*vibrantmedia.com*

The asterisks (*) represent a wildcard expression - meaning it blocks any URL variant of the above domains. For example, adserver1.intellitxt.com or www.vibrantmedia.com/ad will be blocked.

Trying to block only the domain name will do no good as they run several subdomains of varied IPs to serve their (non)IntelliTXT.

If you don't run a firewall that can block URLs (not just IPs), then you can add these to your hosts file set to either 127.0.0.1 or just 0.0.0.0 ... hope this helps some of you.

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