Hidden Costs - Do You Have Ads on Your Business Cards?

Where ads look like content, or people are willing to pay for ads as content you can make a lot of money, but if your website is about marketing, and you heavily place ads on it there is no way to know how much that is going to cost you.

Your Blog is Your Business Card:

I disagree with Jason Calacanis about many things on many levels, but I think this quote is spot on

I make money building profitable businesses, not selling ads on my business card (and that's what I consider my blog to be).

Selling Yourself Short:

Good select targeted advertising can be interesting and add value, but most back-fill advertising networks do not provide enough context to add as much value as they take away. AdSense now lets you place their ads alongside competing ones, but should you?

One of my recent AdSense campaigns matched some blog related keywords, and the ad was getting over 5,000,000 impressions a day for under $40.00. And Google is getting a cut on that too!
Adsense on Blogs.

Does Your Optimization Factor in Invisible Costs?

What is one quality link worth? What is one reader worth? Due to limited market attention and the self reinforcing nature of networks anything that costs a few credibility points will have an increasing cost as time passes, but because it is a cost you don't see you may not be aware of it. If a reporter does not call you will you see that costs? How many other reporters may have called you but did not because you did not get mentioned in that first article? Did you miss out on business or life changing relationships or feedback because your site was too focused on the short term?

Anyone Can Steal Attention:

The cost may not matter now, but when you want to spread ideas it is going to be much harder to do if people do not already know an trust you. The guy who copied my about page (who even came off as a liar in his apology) is blogging about how his Alexa went up (temporarily) and how smart he thinks he is, but it makes me wonder When you have to steal to get exposure do you think it makes you look smart or worth trusting?

It is easy to lie or cheat or steal once or twice or to do it anonymously, but it gets much harder to do repeatedly to people you know. And you surround people who think and act like you do, so if your foundation is based on stealing you are fighting an uphill battle.

Perception is Reality:

It is not an issue of who is better than who, or even who is right or wrong - but do people trust you? Many current market leaders are there not because of amazing intellect or great work, but more because of slowly building trust and being around for a while.

Trust & Intense Relationships:

As Seth says

LinkedIn tends to make networks that are sprawling and weak. Web4 is about smaller, far more intense connections with trusted colleagues and their activities.

Imagine violently emotional feelings that make it hard to walk or talk or do anything. People that make you cry or laugh so hard it hurts. To get in those types of relationships people have to trust you. Some people get there from a few lucky home runs, but most people build that trust slowly over time.

Published: January 20, 2007 by Aaron Wall in marketing


January 21, 2007 - 4:46am

My blog is my business card... but part of my business is being able to answer questions about affiliate marketing and third-party blog advertising. I can only answer those questions if I test myself.

It's actually the most common question I get from prospects and clients, "So how much do you make off ads on your blog?". I tell them I'll be happy when it pays my Starbucks habit. :)

As for the guy who stole attention. It's unfortunate that folks don't understand the net lasts forever and it's a very small community. Lose respect of people once... and you have a long way to try to get them back.

I've been critical of other sites and people with my blog. Most recently, one of them became my client. It was an uncomfortable conversation when they said they read my blog of my critique of them... but thankfully, I wasn't a jerk about it and they appreciated the feedback.


January 21, 2007 - 5:43am

Unfortunately, what you're accomplishing in this writing is moral equivalence. You've missed a million factors by shooting at one.

The previous post was very well written and addressed a few of those factors including the fact that often, it's people's business to answer questions, offers suggestions and preview marketing models.

To answer your blog heading question: yes, some people do have ads on their business cards. Frankly, any marketing message may be an advertisement. And, for that, if you can do it gracefully, well done!

You've applied equivocation between blogs and business cards. Not everyone considers their blog to be their business card. I, for one, use my actual web site as my business card (you must forgive me, as it's terribly incomplete at the moment) and my blog as a place for the allocation and call for information. That is where communication and interaction comes with people who may be non-users that I can apply message to. It is a form of prospect qualification, if you will.

Lastly, everyone has their price. If Google offered you $1,000,000 hard, cold cash to place 30 AdSense ads on your site, you'd have to try hard to convince me that you wouldn't accept the offer.

January 21, 2007 - 7:49am

Hi Brendon
I have turned down VC money and other large sums for advertising on this blog, and even on Threadwatch (where there are ads) I have denied potential advertisers the ability to advertise if I didn't like their offer.

I do have other blogs that are not business cards, etc. Using them for prospect qualification is great stuff, but in general if a site has aggressive advertising on it I think we tend to trust it less...and it is hard to measure the cost of that loss.

January 21, 2007 - 10:44am

There's one more thing: if a company has a commercial website offering, for instance, Internet marketing or web design services, if it also contains Adsense ads related to what it offers, I'd wonder how effective its services are because it's sending prospective clients to competitors.

January 21, 2007 - 7:54pm

I've always been surprised at how old school sites like clickz and Internet.com can get away with so many intrusive (even obnoxious) ads. Sometimes I put up with them to read an article quickly, but overall I avoid these types of sites.

Lots of ads definitely decrease credibility / trust I feel, but it's mostly a factor for newer players. Established sites can just get away with more.

Recently a friend of mine asked his list about YPN ads on his site. It was (and is) a prime example of too many contextual ads decreasing perceptive trust. He ranks very highly for some competitive terms related to Internet advertising, yet doesn't create much trust for all those targeted searchers who aren't familiar with the site. He even goes overboard by using YPN in the middle of the home page in a big fat rectangle.

But even without aggressive placements on the home page, I have a suspicion that even if a site has great content, too many ads can turn-off new visitors from exploring further. They'll just leave and think, "yet another adsense site..." Depends on the niche for sure, but in the professional arena this is certainly true.

January 21, 2007 - 9:25pm

to come to the point, I personally find ads on a blog or webpage offensive and quite cheap.

If I run my Website as a Business, I guess there are better ways to make real Money than the couple of bucks one gets every Month. Maybe one should recommend they should read this blog instead. Would make more sense

Also an Internet User who clicks on an Advertising is to 99% just a Browser not more. He does'nt have any intention to buy anything. It just lures him away from your Site. There is only one big player who makes a profit from this craze.

Nevertheless I know from Sites which cater to Gambling that their Ads or so called links are quite
lucrative with nice bonuses. We don't speak in cents here and there us no middle man in between.

But again this is a different Game.

January 21, 2007 - 9:45pm

"Do You Have Ads on Your Business Cards?"

Hell, yeah! The whole card is one big advertisement just for me. Ok, I'm getting off topic, but don't underestimate the value of your business card ads.

When offering lots of different solutions, the back of the card can help list what you have available - it's much better than a single line description on the front and have people wonder if you provide what they need.

January 22, 2007 - 5:28pm

I think there needs to be a distinction between 3rd-party advertisements and ads for your own products and services.

Still, 3rd party advertisements -- if done right -- probably don't dissipate trust once its been established but may become a barrier to new visitors. I'm thinking, for example, of an advertisement or affiliate link for a service that one personally vouches for and is willing to stake some reputation to attest to that fact.

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