Back in Mid-April I wrote Forbes Likes my Web Site. They started the “Forbes Blog network” and hand-picked 400 blogs worldwide to take part. I think their initial idea was to be able to sell ads beyond Forbes.com to a stable of business and finance blogs to not only generate income, but also to expand their reach and audience.
I was contacted in Feb 2008 and asked to participate. Flattered to be considered (and contacted) by someone at Forbes.com I readily accepted. I was told that we would be paid per impression and not by click, and that from time to time posts from bloggers would be linked or featured somewhere on Forbes.com to be determined. It wasn’t guaranteed, but the prospect of this was exciting. By Mid-April they had even hired a new VP exec to head up the Forbes Blog Network and to kick start media buying and ad sales.
In the last two months I’ve only seen 4 maybe 5 different advertisers launch campaigns in the network. Out of the 55,000 impressions I have personally served, only 5,000 have been paid ads and the remaining 50,000 have been free advertisement for the Forbes Blogging Network (unpaid). CTR has been an abysmal 0.5% or less (due to non-targeted ads), and I have earned a ridiculous $30 to date.
It’s for these reasons that I’m calling “shenanigans” on Forbes and (as you may have already noticed) have removed all ads from my site from them. As a result, my pages now load about 50% quicker as well. I have inquired via email to my account manager twice about the status of the network and my concerns for ads served, but have received no response to date.
There are lessons to be learned here:
First – just because you are a well respected (print) company doesn’t mean you can start up a new (web) advertising network and be successful overnight. Especially when it’s a “blogging” network and those in charge aren’t bloggers OR familiar with the Blogosphere.
Second – when you deal with bloggers, don’t be surprised when they write about the details of dealing with you. Take this into consideration when you ignore their emails.
Third – as a blogger, feel free to try new forms of monetization and exposure – but don’t be afraid to kick them to the curb if you don’t get results.
I’m sure someone’s getting paid on the Forbes Blogging Network, but I have a feeling it’s a stocks or trading site with 50,000 pageviews per day and not me.