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November San Francisco Blog Club is next Monday the 15th, do come along.
Register at http://www.meetup.com/San-Francisco-Blog-Club/calendar/14852786/

With any event like San Francisco Blogger Club that brings a bunch of awesome people together on a regular basis there are always sponsors that step up to help cover all of the expenses that are critical to keeping it up and running. You know, expenses such as providing free drinks, renting out the event space, providing free drinks, buying name tags and oh yeah — providing free drinks. One of the sponsors who has decided to help with this month’s San Francisco Blogger Club is isocket, which is a local startup that’s looking to help bloggers deal with the pains of direct advertising.

I could try to explain exactly what they do to all of you, but to be honestly I think that someone who actually works for them could do a much better job. That’s why I have decided to ask Ryan Hupfer, isocket’s Customer BFF, a few questions so that he can let you all know what the dealio is.

So, I guess that I’ll just hop into the obligatory first question – what is isocket?

Ryan: Well Murray, I never thought you’d ask. In its most simple form, isocket is a tool to help any blogger, website owner or any other type of web publisher sell, execute and manage their direct advertising (which can really be a pain sometimes). One of the things that makes us unique is that we offer our tool as a software as a service model (Saas), which basically means that we charge a small fee per month instead of taking commissions off of each individual ad sale.

Murray: So when you say that you manage direct advertising for web publishers, what exactly does that mean?

Ryan: Great question again! (you’re good at this, dude) Basically direct sales includes any type of advertising transaction between a web publisher and an advertiser where the payment, creative, scheduling and other details of the advertising campaign has been managed directly without the help of a third party.

So, let’s say that you want to advertise on that blog about unicorns that you always read because you have a product that you think their audience would be a great fit for. Here are the steps that you would normally need to go through in order to buy an ad on their site:

  1. You would need to visit their advertising or contact page so that you can find a way to get in touch with them
  2. You would send them an email telling them about how you would like to advertise on their sweet unicorn blog and asking them how much it would cost, etc.
  3. They would then reply to your email and tell you about their advertising options, pricing and any other information you might need to know
  4. You would reply to them and tell them what specific ad you would like to buy
  5. If they want you to advertise on their site, then they would give you instructions on what type of creative to send them and how to pay them the money for the ad
  6. You would then send them your creative and pay them for the campaign via PayPal, check, etc.
  7. They would then add the creative to their site and would figure out a way to make sure that it stays on schedule and that you get the reporting you expect while the campaign is running

As you can see, this can be a very tedious any time intensive process. What isocket does is come in and make all of this super simple and effortless. This still allows the web publisher to sell their direct ad inventory for a premium all while still focusing on creating great content – not managing ad operations (which no one really wants to do, let’s be honest).

That was a little long-winded and confusing, but you could say that the traditional direct sales process is a little long-winded and confusing for most people, too (which is why we exist).

Murray: I’ve heard you say that not all websites are made for direct sales, what exactly does that mean?

Ryan: First of all, I have definitely told you this before and I’ll say it over and over again – not all websites are made for direct sales. What this means is that to be successful with direct sales web publishers need to have a certain mix of different things going on that puts them in the position to be able to sell their ad inventory directly at a premium.

As you can probably guess, one of the more important factors is the amount of traffic that the website is getting. The more traffic, the more likely that direct sales will be an option, but that’s not always the case. For instance, if you had a website that generated a lot of traffic, but wasn’t focused on any particular niche or topic area, it would be very hard for you to do direct sales unless you literally had hundreds of millions of ad impressions each month. Many websites that see good success with direct sales have a decent amount of traffic (50k+ monthly page impressions) and also have a very specific niche that their content focuses on. This creates a situation where potential advertisers are easily found due to the focused content, which in turn draws in a very focused  audience.

So, in summary, a focused niche with a good amount of traffic usually creates a situation that is ripe for direct sales. It sounds simple, but it’s much easier said than done.

Murray: To help me and the rest of the people reading this better understand a good website for direct sales looks like, could you give us a couple of examples of websites that currently are successful with using isocket?

Ryan: Sure, a few that pop into my head are:

  1. Gamezebo: This is a casual gaming site that absolutely kills it with isocket. They have great traffic, focused content and a very direct sales minded team, which helps them sell more ads than they know what to do with sometimes.
  2. TechCrunch: If you don’t know these guys, you’ve been living under a rock somewhere that doesn’t have wifi. TechCrunch was our first beta customer and we’ve helped them manage their self-service direct sales for over a year now. You can check out their isocket page here: https://isocket.com/group/techcrunch.
  3. Brooklyn Heights Blog: This is a local blog in Brooklyn that focuses on the hyper-local market around one particular neighborhood.

As you can see, all different shapes, sizes genres and niches of content can be successful with isocket.

Murray: Thanks for all of the awesome information about isocket. If someone is reading this and wants to dig into your product a bit more what should they do?

Ryan: If you think that isocket could be a good fit for your blog or website, you can go to https://www.isocket.com/why and find out more about what we offer, our pricing and anything else you need to know before diving head-first into the isocket pool. Also, if you have any questions about isocket and would like to actually talk to a human, we do that too. Just email us at [email protected] and we’ll get back in touch with you as soon as we can.

One comment on “November San Francisco Blog Club is next Monday

  • Good article about our non-sucking competition from across the pond 🙂 Any activity that brings the bloggers more money and makes the whole independent publishing market grow is highly appreciated by AdTaily.

    I’d also add that two more things that are essential in monetizing your content. One is the loyalty of your readers (for instance – it’s a lot easier to monetize a blog with 50k returning visitors than one with 500k random/search ones). The other is the effort you put in letting people know that your place is a good one to advertise, and promoting your advertising business. That’s why companies like iSocket or AdTaily focus on simplifying advertising sales/delivery, so the publisher/blogger has more time to actually build loyal audience and promote her advertising products.

    You can also read Murray’s review of AdTaily from a while ago here: http://www.murraynewlands.com/2010/03/adtaily-review/

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