The Weblog Ad Directory (+ Weblogs, Inc. v. Gawker stats!)

My pal Nick has been asking me to expose our stats forever (in fact, trying to bait me by saying that I was afraid). I never wanted to put them out there because the stats really layout the WIN business plan in many ways. It doesn’t take a genius to map out the various things we did over the past 18 months and lay that on top of the stats (in fact, that’s exactly what we did). About two months ago I started test some of our blogs on Sitemeter, the package Nick introduced me to–and what a package it is! (uhhh… ok, anyway)

We found that it undercounted our internal stats by 2-5%, but was solid otherwise. The short count may be because the site meter icon was placed at the bottom of the page, or maybe because people turn off Javascript and/or images (or cache images?).

Anyway, as you can see Autoblog does 3x the traffic as Jalopnik, and Joystiq does 3x+ the traffic of Kotaku. Engadget has a similar relationship to Gizmodo (although we have not put Engadget on sitemeter just yet).

So, why is this important?

Gawker and Weblogs, Inc. have been talking about making a directory of blogs and their traffic for advertisers. John Battelle’s folks over at Federated Media are interested as well. The group of us have been talking with measurement folks (i.e. iPro), but frankly I think this is a project that is so important that we, as a group, should fund it and manage it by an open board.

Here is how we would create the first Weblog Directory for Advertisers:

1. Any blog that wanted to be listed on the site would use SiteMeter or maybe an inhouse stat tool. Maybe we could get SiteMeter to give us a group rate?!

2. Blogs wold be able to be listed in up to one place in the directory for free (i.e. technology, music, TV, politics, etc) and then pay an extra $250 to be listed in a second location. This would avoid abuse of people wanted to be in 30 directory categories. (note: I’m throwing numbers out there).

3. Each blog publisher would pay a startup membership fee (say $1,000), and a yearly fee based on traffic per blog (maybe you would pay $100 a year for under 100k page views a month, $250 for 100-250k pages a month). This money would pay for a staff of one or two folks to manage the blog directory for advertisers.

4. All blogs would be listed by category and by monthly traffic. So, in Autos you would have Autoblog, Jalopnik, etc. You could obviously switch to alphabetical order as well. In this way the directory would be a ratings book. Blogads.com and the much better looking and functional AdBrite.com have directories by traffic. I thought about joining both of these networks just to have our sites listed on them. In fact, Henry turned me down two years ago telling me I was the enemy… smart move, we would have made you tens of thousands dude!!! We’re probably going to list ourselves on AdBrite–just for the exposure to advertisers. What sucks about both of these directories is that they are incomplete.

5. Contract information would listed right there on the page and blogs could change it daily. So, there is no middleman (that is what iPro wanted to do… put a middle man between the blogs and the advertisers–that’s why I backed out of the discussions they’ve been hosting).

6. This blog publishers group would hold a road show to the major advertising markets to demo the directory. Perhaps a print/pdf version every year.

Anyway, that’s my idea. A rising tide raises all boats, anyone can be listed, it’s run at break even so bloggers get the lowest price, and the advertisers get complete data on the space from a trusted source.

Are you with me?!?!?!

ps – Oh yeah… here are the stats comparing Gawker and WIN blogs since Nick is soooooo obsessed with such things. Won’t it be fun when we don’t have to use Alexa any more! We can all just check our Sitemeter stats.

Autoblog – Stats
autoblog
Jalopnik – Stats
jalopnik

JoystiqStats
joystiq

Kotaku – Stats
kotaku

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