We’re building our own ad network

If you just want to know how to advertise with us, you can head to the Advertise page on our site. If, however, you’d first (or only) like to know more about this decision of ours, read on …

As I began this post, I wrestled with a title. Something about “accepting advertising” came to mind, but falls so short of what we’re really doing. What are we doing? First, a bit of context:

By our latest estimate, building Stormpulse.com has taken over 10,000 hours stretched over 4 years time. In that time, we’ve done nothing to monetize the site except adding a Tipjoy button and later a PayPal Donate button. Those steps were a response to user demands that we have some way of making money off the site. (We felt appreciated to say the least.)

Some of you (a very, very small number) may have noticed that we took down the Donate button last Friday. This reflects a decision we’ve made: we’re going to build a network of severe weather-related advertisers from the ground up.

In keeping with the same do-it-yourself spirit that caused us to write our own Flash application code instead of co-opting Google Maps, we’re going to flip open our phones and make the calls and make the advertising connections it takes to ensure that our site never has an irrelevant ad on its pages. We can’t leave that up to a contextual algorithm.

As consumers of our own site, we really love the ad-free experience, so we’re determined to make our advertisements as content-like as possible. No fat bellies, no dancing bears, no blinking text. Many of those 10,000 hours invested in the site have been about high-quality display. We’re not going to muck it up now.

In fact, we’re building our own network so that we have a total control that will allow us to ultimately remove the line between advertising and content. What do I mean by that? Another day, another post (but yes, we have something coming). For now, know that we are looking forward to speaking with anyone that would like to advertise their product or service on our site. We have several options available, including geo-targeting.

Those of you that remain concerned should know that we’re also planning to offer an ad-free option. If that’s something you’d be interested in, please let us know.

Concerns, questions, and comments anyone? Fire away.

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9 comments so far

  1. Baylink on

    > In fact, we’re building our own network so that we have a total control that will allow us to ultimately remove the line between advertising and content.

    Well, I must say that thought makes me about as happy as Microsoft’s “making it impossible for your users to tell where the edge of their desktop computer meets the network” does; that sort of thing sounds good, but makes problem diagnosis nigh impossible.

    In your case, it’s more “even if I ignore the ads with my Mark 1 Mod 0 eyeball, instead of a tool, I want to know where they are…

  2. […] So what’s happening? We’re building what we’re calling Stormpulse Advanced. These will be premium, paid accounts. So we’ve been asking all of you out there what features you’d like to see in a premium account, so we can build the product you want us to build. So far the clear winners are radar loops and animation and historical details on forecasts. Close behind are things like sea surface temperatures, hurricane hunter data, and the ability to save preferences. Not surprisingly, a number of folks are also interested in no advertising (although some folks actually want advertising, as long as it’s tasteful and relevant, which of course it would be). […]

  3. John Lem on

    I wanted to suggest you take a look at Adroll, we solve a number of the problems you’re looking at, such as niche community building and geotargeting. Check out our About section (http://www.adroll.com/about) and if you have any questions please let me know and i’ll provide any assistance you need.

  4. Matthew on

    @Joelle,

    I had heard of adify through the place I currently work, but wasn’t aware of the amount of control the system provides. I’ll take another look at what you all have to offer. Thanks for the tip.

  5. Matthew on

    @Jesse,

    Ah! Correct. We expect to use Google Ad Manager to handle flighting, tracking, and delivery. I guess I’ll need to look at how isocket compares to Google Ad Manager.

  6. Joelle Kaufman on

    Good luck – it sounds exciting and it makes sense to stay in the center of these relationships. We have about 150+ such ventures growing on our platform and would love to show you how we might help…otherwise, good luck.

  7. Jesse Farmer on

    Sure. I guess I read “building our own ad network” to mean you’re spending the time to create some sort of technical infrastructure. Reading the article more closely it sounds like you’re saying “we’re going to start doing ad sales,” which makes perfect sense.

    Good luck!

  8. Matthew on

    @Jesse,

    Thanks for the suggestion–I’ll take a look.

    I know it might seem strange (and it’s definitely out of the ordinary), but we are looking at this ad network as a pillar of our business. We have some things in mind down the line which would make it essential to be the hub in the center of these relationships.

  9. Jesse Farmer on

    I’d take a look at http://isocket.com/ and see if it simplifies anything for you. Speaking as someone who has build an ad network which at its peak served over 2MM pageviews per day, it’s not the most fun thing in the world.

    IMO you should be focusing on your core business, which does not (as far as I can tell) involve building ad networks.


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