Dana Blankenhorn gives some suggestions, learning from the mistakes of the past:
1. Limit your ad inventory. You offer one or (at most) two ads per page, no more. When you sell out this inventory you raise your prices, you don’t create more inventory.
2. Sponsorship skins. Every page on every site is surrounded by some sort of “trade dress” for the publisher. What if we took that surround and made that the ad? An outfit called iLor has been trying to do this by offering sponsorship “skins” on pop-up services, like organized hyperlinks. What if we did this on the surround of an entire blog page, and sold that sponsorship by the day or the hour? The color would carry a brand message, a single advertiser’s message would surround the content, and that message would be absorbed slowly, on the user’s own terms. A sponsorship with, perhaps, a secondary ad from another advertiser that links off-site, is the maximum load any story should carry.
3. Shared Registration. Blogs need some sort of shared-registration scheme. No blog publisher has the money to build this, it should be done by a third party. Users should have one place where they can tell the blogosphere what their interests are, what kinds of pitches they might listen to. The ad they get on each page they go to can then be customized, based on these preferences, raising the CPM (cost per thousand) value of every ad. Registrants should be able to enter this database once, and have a cookie that can let them register at other sites with a single click.
4. Pay Per Action. Once ads are going to prospects instead of just suspects, through shared registration, sites should be happy to take payment based on action (like clickthroughs, completed registration forms or sales) rather than page views. Pay per action pricing can, through analysis of server logs, yield an implied CPM, and the company handling the shared-registration scheme should be willing to share that CPM with member sites.
5. E-Mail. This should be a benefit for registration, and it’s critical for improving the circulation of any blog. Integration of e-mail delivery with Web ad services – true integration – is essential to increasing circulation and delivering the cash bloggers need to keep going.