Social media websites struggle to increase advertising revenues. Thus I was fascinated today to learn that the social voting website Digg is now allowing advertisers to submit their ads, just as Digg users recommend and submit a website link. The submissions are only distinguishable by the pale gray words “sponsored by …” above the item.
VOTING ON ADS, LIKE OTHER DIGG LINKS
And because Digg is a social voting site, Digg members can vote on ads just like they vote on stories, with a thumbs up or thumbs down. These votes influence the cost per click that the advertiser pays, and perhaps how long the ad stays up if costs rise for unpopular ads.
I went looking for the ads, and created the above screenshot of what I found. You can see to the right of the red arrow that Nerdy Shirts bought a baby shirt ad related to the Hangover Movie (whatever that is), and 48 people voted for this ad/product.
Mike Maser, chief strategy officer for the firm, is quoted in the New York Times as saying, “The response has been overwhelmingly positive.” Banner ads were not enough: “It’s impossible to grow and scale a site supported entire on banner advertisements.”
COMMENTS ON ADS AS CONTENT?
Ads used to be segregated on billboards, banners and the side columns of magazines and newspapers. Now they are creeping into the content of our entertainment, our lives. Google has substantive and sponsored links on the same page, movies display brand names, Food Network programs pour wines with labels showing, the sides of buses are painted with ads.
Now Digg has ads are almost indistinguishable from user-generated content. Will this work as a business model? Do you personally like it?