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CBS blog ad network: worth a closer look

I'm basically a sceptic about most mass advertising models on the web. At best I think slapping banners on high traffic sites is as helpfully random as a bit of sponsorship hoarding at big public event. Might reinforce some brand awareness, catch some eyes, but likely to be lost among the other ads all playing second fiddle to the main action.

What I find interesting are new advertising models that are about being relevant and useful. So I was interested to read about a new model from US TV and radio network CBS on Buzzmachine:

They just announced a new widget ad network in 13 of their local markets (the owned & operated stations with newsrooms). In a week and a half, they’ve put together 80 blogs in the network, many more to come. They are all local blogs around various content interests: news, politics, sports, real estate, entertainment. This is pretty much just an ad network rather than a curated ad-and-content network like Glam. CBS intends to send the blogs some traffic, but unlike Glam, it’s not aggregating and curating their content. They’re looking for decent blogs that are local and are updated regularly, but they’re not yet turning this into a contest where the best quality wins (that day will come, I hope). When I spoke with them, they did add that they’re delighted with the quality of the local blogs they’ve seen.

Jeff Jarvis praises the principles that are clearly present in CBS's approach:

They understand that this is not just about driving traffic to CBS domains but about reaching audience they may not now serve in other places. That’s the attitude.

The numbers behind the model aren't clear yet (in terms of who will earn what and attract how much traffic between CBS and the 80 or so blogs in the network so far), but that's to be expected. CBS is innovating, experimenting, tinkering with its ad models - a smart thing to do.

The image below is an example of the format, carrying a Honda ad for its Dallas/Fort Worth dealerships from the Culturefeast blog. (Excuse the poor formatting, the image on the right is the bottom of the skyscraper banner.)

I like the way that it carries some relevant editorial content at the top as well as the sales message. If you click through on say, the SXSW story in the editorial section you go through to a CBS video site. Unfortunately it plays you an abbreviated Honda ad upfront - which momentarily makes you think clicked on the wrong thing (another sidebar and/or a short ad at the end of the clip).

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Always interested to see big brands trying to make themselves useful to the new media. Check this out from 02 http://www.xda-blog.co.uk/

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