August 3, 2005

More pajama talk.

Scott Lemieux asks a very good question about Pajamas Media ads and the blogger's supposed veto power. I was wondering that myself.

On the positive side of the Pajamas debate, Pieter Dorsman is willing to put his trust in Charles Johnson and Roger L. Simon, based on their reputation as bloggers. He writes:
It’s always difficult to take a risk on early stage ventures but in general you buy into a concept or technology and the people behind it....But then the question is: do you want to take the risk that PM will not succeed? What if they do? Do you think PM will return to you with an offer down the road if you declined them today? There are no quick and definite answers here and the PM team probably doesn’t have them either. The point is that some bloggers have been asked to come on board at an early stage, be part of a journey that may well end up in a completely different place.

The best deals should be offered to the first people who sign up, because they are agreeing to the unknown, but the deals are not good enough to compensate for the year long commitment for anyone with decent BlogAds income. I'm not going to worry about missing the boat without being more sure of the boat. Dorsman concedes the "journey" is unknown. And remember the commitment is for a year. Who knows what better deals may emerge in six months? The strange emphasis on a long commitment might suggest that there is a rival enterprise on the horizon. If nothing else, there's the coming BlogAds upgrade. Maybe I want to be free to catch the next boat.

But do I think only the early adopters will get deals or even that they will get the best deals? No! I think if Pajamas is successful, they'll want to sign on more people, especially the people who are now most likely to hold out: those who are doing well with BlogAds, because we are the more popular, established bloggers. At this later point, Pajamas will be more of a known quantity, more worth dealing with. And with all the eager early adopters signed on to year-long deals (or 18-month deals), Pajamas will be free to offer much nicer deals to the holdout crowd. Why shouldn't they want us? Maybe they'll be pissed at me in particular, for criticizing them right when they were trying so hard to get started, but on the other hand, they could say even our harshest critic has signed on.

UPDATE: Who knows what better deals will emerge tomorrow?

UPDATE 2009: The collapse of Pajamas Media for bloggers.


Christopher said...
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John Althouse Cohen said...

That's weird, "Christopher." Your comment has nothing to do with what this blog post is about.

Also, I thought you said, in a previous irrelevant comment, that your site was on "corvettes."

Ann Althouse said...

Thanks for the heads-up, John. I thought there was just some new trend of people promoting their blogs by dropping in on other blogs and saying "Awesome Blog!"

Daryl Herbert said...

Note the URL his comment goes back to: it's not a blog, it's a google-bait site (that exists to sell Google ad words or similar advertising, and draws people in from search engines by having lots of keywords, and it provides zero original content).

"He" is a spam-bot (and everything he is doing is evil). If you actually follow the link from his profile back to his blog, you'll see that it too is randomly-generated google-bait.

Kathy Herrmann said...

I have a couple of my own rebuttal thoughts for Pieter.

"Do you think PM will return to you with an offer down the road if you declined them today?"

If PM declines you later if you say no now, then this is a business model is run on emotionism -- which means it's a bad one.

The decision of PM to accept a blogger either now or later should be because they believe there's a profit potential with the blogger and not whether they "like you." Pure and simple.

As to who will win the best deals and the timing of those deals, again it should also come down to a question of which bloggers can offer the best profit potential. Yes, some folks will get a better deal now for assuming the risk of a start up. However, if a late arriving blogger can make a more positive contribution to PM's bottomline, then I would anticipate the blogger would demand a good deal too. And if PM is smart, they would grant the deal.

As for other deals out in the world, I think one of several things will happen of which here are two: 1) The market is ripe for these types of business opportunities, in which case expect competitors to PM. 2) There is no market, in which case PM may or may not succeed.

Ann Althouse said...

Thanks, Daryl. Too bad Blogger is letting that through!

Ann Althouse said...

Great, pithy analysis, Tiger.

Kathy Herrmann said...

Another thought about PM...They have problems with their business model. Forgive me for the long post but this is (obviously) an issue I have some passion about. And as much as I respect Charles and company as bloggers, this is business, baby.

1) Ann has pointed out a big part of the problem is their lack of transparency. I agree.

PJM still has no website to showcase the company, their value proposition, or their services. As a marketer, I find this shocking in today's world. Doubly so considering Charles is a web designer. This deficiency is a symptom of the lack of the company's transparency, togetherness or some combination thereof.

2) I've mentioned both here and in my own blog that PJM is doing a lousy job of managing their sales channel (aka, their stable of bloggers). Case in point, a small blogger like me has yet to receive an offer. Now you can attribute my comments here and at my place to sour grapes...or to the recognition of a former channel manager (which I am) that PJM has dropped the ball.

When PJM sought out early blogger entrants, they made no indications of a stratified channel. I don't remember the exact words, but they hyped PJM to the effect that all bloggers were welcome regardless of their audience size. Given that's what they hyped, then they should be following through with sending offers to their entire channel at the same time. Not leaving a chunk of their channel still in the dark after 5 days and counting.

The other option would be to have acknowledged up front that the channel would be stratified or initally limited on the basis of some sort of qualifying criteria. This approach would have meant declining or defering some bloggers. (From a marketing standpoint, this might have been a smart move anyway to generate more demand and interest to join the in-crowd).

Putting on my own old channel manager hat, I find the PJM approach of ignoring a chunk of its channel in the way they have a terrible business move.

PJM may end up providing great revenue potential for folks but they're off to a questionable start. It's not sufficient to say forgive them because they're "finding their way." This is business. I'd advise PJM to conduct themselves as if they recognize that.

nypundit said...

I really don't get why people are getting their knickers in a twist over a new model for selling ads on blogs. There was existing competition (google and blog ads) and as you pointed out Ann, Yahoo! is about to enter the sand box. With a new blog supposedly being created every second, there is plenty of room for everyone at this point. It's not like PM is with a gun to a blogger's head saying join with us or else. Isn't that what a free market is all about?

Ann Althouse said...

NYPundit: The reason we're talking about it is that offers are going out which, if you accept, bind you for a year. We're thinking out loud about whether to accept the offer. This thinking out loud is part of the marketplace. You, like many others, are saying: each individual blogger should just decide whether to take it or leave it and not share our analysis with others who are weighing offers. To that, I say: no, no, no, no, no! Let's share analysis. Let's do it in public. This is a market too! The marketplace of ideas. I'm saying: talk about it! If you don't see why, I'm going to suspect you of protecting Pajamas Media. Why would you do that?

Tiger: I think they may have thought people like me would analyze our offers in private and not talk about it. Then, you'd never have known that some people had gotten offers before you. But they were dealing with bloggers! How absurd to think that we wouldn't blog about it! As to "finding their way" -- as I've said before: that just doesn't square with asking US to commit for a year. Why do they get flexibility when they want to deny it to us?

Aaron said...

Ann, let me clarify what I was saying. I have no problem with your public debate about if you should join PJM. Because you, as usual, take a level headed approach to this and make a rational judgement.

Other bloggers that you have mentioned do not take such a level headed approach and make comments like "these are a bunch of right wing bloggers, there is no way that i will trust them". Although they are entitled to their opinion, there is no reason for the name calling and the like. And that is where I have the problem (among other places but I'll leave that to my shrink).

Kathy Herrmann said...

Ann--The talking dynamic goes beyond bloggers, athough it's also definitely in blogger natures to tawk amongst ourselves!

Comparing notes is the nature of members of indirect sales channels. I've never managed one yet, where the members don't discuss company communiques in detail...especially when those communiques revolve around some corporate policy and practice.

That's the reason why seasoned channel managers pour over corporate announcements and try to ensure there's little room for misinterpretation of information (aka, provide indepth explanations up the wazoo and giving examples is a big help). You know how in The West Wing, Toby sweats over specific words and phrases in a communique? Been there. Done that.

Then the channel manager makes channel-wide broadcasts of information. Either all the emails launch at the same time or the letters go in the mail on the same day. In some cases of the latter, for folks in farther locations you might even use an expedited service so they're info doesn't lag those in closer locations.

And then about 5 - 10 minutes after the channel receives the announcement, some member -- aka the customer -- calls to discuss what you wrote in detail so the channel manager has to be available for discussiion).

Even in situations where some company issue only impacts a segment of the channel, I've been known to give the whole channel a brief synopsis and then send more details to those impacted. That way, no one feels out of the loop and no one is surprised.

So, some folks could legitimately interpret PJM's lack of channel-wide communication to be an indication of a lack of knowledge of how to manage a channel. And that goes back to business model problems I mentioned above.

William said...
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cylon said...
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Scott A. Edwards said...
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