Bribing Users to Watch Ads Didn't Work In 1999 And It Doesn't Work Now

from the failed-experiments dept

Last year we noted the possible resurgence of AllAdvantage (under a new name), the dot-com-era company that tried to make money by paying users to have advertising on their screens. It didn't work, and like a lot of companies AllAdvantage went belly-up in early 2001. But apparently, the new AllAdvantage isn't the only one not paying attention to history. A short-lived startup called Brightspot.tv announced last week that it, too, was closing up shop. Brightspot was apparently like AllAdvantage, only focused on video ads instead of banner ads. The fundamental problem in both cases is the misunderstanding about what's being purchased when companies buy ads. Companies want to buy consumers' attention, not just screen real estate. The raw screen space isn't worth anything if people aren't focusing on it. And obviously, if people are only playing the ads because you're paying them to, they're likely to find ways to hide the ads or play them at times when they're doing something else. If you have to pay people to watch your ads, that's a sure-fire sign that you're doing something wrong. As we've said before, ads are content. The trick to making them more effective is to either make them more relevant to your target audience or make them more entertaining. If your ads are fun to watch, or if they have information your target customers are actually interested in, then you won't need to bribe people to watch them. Conversely, if your ads are boring and irrelevant to your target audience, they're not going to be effective no matter how much money you spend on them.
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Filed Under: forced ad watching, free with ads
Companies: alladvantage, brightspot.tv


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Nov 2007 @ 6:47pm

    Actually, boring and irrelevant ads grind into your consciousness anyway and do their dirty work.

    Certainly each impression is not as effective as an exciting and relevant ad. But impressions add up.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Nov 2007 @ 7:03pm

    I would be more than happy to have somebody pay me to have ads on my screen. In fact I'd setup on old PC, connect it to the net and have it sit in the corner doing nothing but happily displaying ads 24/7. I could put it out in the back room out of the way and it would cause no trouble at all.

    Where do I sign up?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Haywood, 26 Nov 2007 @ 8:10pm

      Re: I like the way you think

      I could set up a network of P3s all watching ads on tabbed browsers. At a penny an ad I could rack up some $

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Nov 2007 @ 7:11pm

    I tried this in college. The reason it doesn't work is because the pennies that consumers get are so meager, it simply isn't worth the crap you have to go through to use it.

    Maybe it will be better this time around...maybe not.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Nov 2007 @ 7:48pm

    what's not what, right?

    Typo: The fundamental problem in both cases is the misunderstanding about WHAT'S being purchased when companies buy ads.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Memorabilia, 26 Nov 2007 @ 9:22pm

    @ #1. Impressions build up? Is that some sort of closet ad man phrase that means, "If they see it enough, they'll buy it"?

    Because I have a spam folder full of about 100K ads for viagra and penis enlargment offers. If sheer volume increases purchase potential, then not just me, but all of America is sporting chemically inhanced mahogany.

    The only ads that have made me take notice have been the Geico Caveman ads. I'm sure that didn't have anything to do with the number of "impressions" I recieved.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    ipanema, 26 Nov 2007 @ 10:25pm

    You got it so right with your last two sentences.

    What a pity if one pays people to click on their ads. If they are as you said entertaining and relevant to targeted audience, there's no need to pay someone. People will happily click it all day if it is interesting.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anne, 26 Nov 2007 @ 11:04pm

    Gmail's targeted advertising works

    I use my Gmail account as the place to send all the crap I don't want clogging up my corporate e-mail account. If I sign up for a contest, etc., the retailer gets my Gmail email address.

    Google's targeted advertising program at the top of the Gmail page actually works. I haven't spent any money, but I've willingly signed up to be on email lists and given my name and address to some companies so they can mail me coupons for the products I want to buy. Today, God only knows why, the Gmail gods divined that I might be interested in a vegetarian lifestyle 'starter kit.' Turns out that I am actually interested and I willingly handed over my personal contact information to PETA, even though normally I think they're a bunch of lunatic tree-hugging wackos.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rich Kulawiec, 27 Nov 2007 @ 5:10am

    Agloco are spammers, just like AllAdvantage

    This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone, as it's the same
    failed business model based on the same get-the-affiliates
    -to-spam-then-deny-all-responsibility premise. I permanently
    blacklisted them as soon as I was aware of their existence --
    there was really not much point in waiting for the inevitable
    abuse to begin before taking action.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    LN, 27 Nov 2007 @ 11:25am

    not so mint...

    Here in NZ, there's a new and uninspiring attempt at doing exactly the same thing. Ironically, there's a bunch of TV ads encouraging people to watch currently playing TV ads online instead for "rewards".

    Basically if you watch 6 hours of ads online, (and you have to answer questions at the end, so no cheating people!), you can afford the minimum bid for some McVouchers or similar. Awesome stuff! The interesting thing is that the site is down at the moment, due to "excessive traffic". One can only hope that isn't true...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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