Inside Online Advertising
By Diggers Realm

Will Pajamas Media Destroy BlogAds?

If you're a blogger and have been living under a rock (or you're not a blogger) then you haven't heard of Pajamas Media. I'll give you a quick rundown of what Pajamas Media "seems" to be attempting to do. I say "seems" because there doesn't seem to be a solid idea anywhere of what they are or what their business plan entails.

For instance take this from their information page

Claudia Rosett, Editorial Board Member


On our direction
...I don’t have a great sense of it, but it’s basically bringing together a somewhat disparate group of people to try in a somewhat more organized fashion to play around with information and opinion

Even if you read the founders takes on the On our direction portion you don't get an answer and most of the others just mention the pooling for advertising. Here's my take on them. They basically are an umbrella company that hires bloggers under contract. The benefit to bloggers is that they receive a portion of the advertising (or some set amount monthly) throughout the network and also benefit from some traffic from the main Pajamas Media website and cross traffic from other blogs.

Not that they weren't getting cross traffic from these blogs before, but being part of a "group" probably ads incentive to promote blogs within the network. By pooling their traffic numbers together Pajamas Media hopes to have more influence and power when it comes to approaching advertisers.

Now there's nothing wrong with the concept itself in my opinion. And unlike some others out there I have nothing against Pajamas Media. My main website Diggers Realm was approached to join Pajamas Media when they first were getting started. I wasn't one of the few apparently as hundreds of others also were approached. I never did fill out the contract and decided on a "wait and see" approach since I wasn't sure what their business model was going to be.

I'm going to focus on the advertising portion of their aims.

I didn't like the thought of being locked into a contract for a year and a half. The web grows massively in such a short period of time. I don't even think BlogAds were around 18 months ago and if so they were a tiny speck. Other things pop up all the time such as Chitika eMiniMalls. Those locked into a contract are basically voiding themselves from pursuing other advertising methods when they appear. They're signing their options away. It also seems to lock you into a lower rate even if your blog grows over time.

Now for some this was a no-brainer because they just didn't want to worry -- or didn't have the "know how" -- about advertising. All the stats and positioning and worrying about deciding which method works best etc... Some signed on without seeming to even think about it. There's also those like Right Wing Nut House

Another reason that I don’t have any ads is that I’m notoriously lazy and ignorant when it comes to that techie kind of stuff. I tried putting my Paypal “Donate” button in the blog template and it appeared 5 times bigger than normal, overlapping the margins of the sidebar and looking ridiculous. I don’t have a clue on how to do it correctly so I simply went without one, telling myself I’ll get around to fixing it sooner or later.

I'm not sure how many blogs they have now, but they do have ~80 of the top Conservative bloggers under contract for at least 18 months. Under the contract they can only run Pajamas Media advertising. No Google AdSense, no Yahoo! Publisher Network, no Microsoft adCenter and of course no BlogAds.

Which begs the question "What will happen to"

The majority of the larger websites that were scooped up by Pajamas Media were running BlogAds on them. If you think about it they were running some sort of advertising because the main draw for Pajamas Media other than the guise of "becoming something new and powerful in the media" was the money for most. That other goal was just an added benefit.

Well, from my personal results I can tell you that I've had the biggest month ever with BlogAds. That might just be the Christmas rush however as last December I saw a good month as well. Then I had cyclical periods throughout the year where I would see only 1 or 2 come my way.

Right Wing Nut House also makes this comment:

The amount of money I’m receiving over the next 15 months from PJM is less than the amount I could make by putting Blogads on this site.

And that's at the current rate he would get, assuming no growth. If he grows in the next 15 months I'm not sure if that's factored into the contracts or not. If it isn't it should be.

Ann Althouse has been an outspoken critic of Pajamas Media from the start. She notes over at her blog:

(By the way, my BlogAds are currently paying me at a rate of more than four times as much as Pajamas offered me to yoke myself to them for 18 months.)

BlogAds just had its biggest buy ever from MSNBC for their ads to run on 800 blogs. This was after all those top websites had already moved to Pajamas Media. The fact remains even with the top ones moving on there's more blogs launched everyday and that the combined traffic of all the other blogs running BlogAds has value.

I have yet to see any advertising running on any of the Pajamas Media websites. I have no doubt they will get some advertising on them eventually, but will they be able to sell it enough to get top dollar? I'm not sure.

So I think BlogAds will survive. Will they see their numbers dip after Christmas? We'll have to wait and see.

Others commenting on Pajamas Media and BlogAds:

Tim Worstall

Pretty much all of the Pajamas bloggers used to run BlogAds. They now, as a condition of being part of the system, do not. They run PJM ads (delivered using Doubleclick I think. As has been pointed out a number of times, the most likely ad serving technology to be blocked by filtering software. But that’s another matter.)

Riehl World View

... it makes little sense to sign onto one ad deal which pays you less than another, unless of course you perceive some other benefit.

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Posted on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 04:28 AM | Permalink | Email This | Blogroll IOA! |
» Danny Carlton -- alias "Jack Lewis" linked with Odds and Ends


They've bitten into my efforts as well. I've had several people who I contacted about my site who said they couldn't participate because they were contractually bound to PJ. The is the same Pajamas Media which, when I asked specifically about interfereing with BlogAds, told me in an email...

Jack, you can take other ads. You are not precluded from that. Once you sign up, we'll have a formal Advertising Contract for you to read, which will be ready within the week, and that contract will go into a lot more detail. However, our idea is to allow you to continue taking other ads. -- Jill for Pajamas Media

I'm not part of PJ. They never offered me a contract, and I have to assume my insistance on not barring other advertising had something to do with that. If they had, I would have picked their contract to pieces for not sticking to what they said it would.

Posted by: Danny Carlton | December 14, 2005 07:12 AM


Despite what you here from some "experts," Pajamas Media bloggers may run other ads, just as Jill stated.

I imagine most folks just didn't want the hassle of handling multiple advertising streams, when all most of us would like to do is blog. That was my decision, at least.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee | December 15, 2005 04:14 PM

Hmm, most people handle multiple streams of advertising.

AdSense, BlogAds, Yahoo! Publisher Network. I don't know why anyone would rip ALL of their advertising off of their site and replace it with nothing while they wait for ads to come in. Some of those people were making BIG bucks.

Posted by: Digger | December 15, 2005 06:59 PM

Hrm.. It's sad that Blogads doesn't accept new registration. I'm searching for an invitation but seems to no avail.

Posted by: Jerry | January 3, 2006 09:13 AM

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