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FM Raises Another $4.5M; Are They Having Difficulty Filling Inventory?
Reports from PEHub and Mashable indicate a new $4.5 million Series B round of funding for Federated Media. Congrats! Federated Media provides advertising for some of the world's largest blogs including: TechCrunch (TC is in "open warfare" and looking for a replacement), Read/WriteWeb, GigaOm, Mashable, ArsTechnica, TechDirt and about 100 other blogs. We have written several times about Federated Media and their "envelope-pushing" ad campaigns.
But I am left wondering, why do they need so much money and are they having difficulty filling their inventory?
First the "why" question. I have to assume that an ad network makes money (not profit perhaps) from day 1. Each ad view brings in some amount of revenue for FM. And since they are the provider of ads for many large blogs with mega CPMs, wouldn't they be bringing in oodles of cash? Perhaps this new investment round is to create other FM video shows like the Morgan Webb tech news show. And naturally towards hiring more sales execs and/or more ad-serving technology. Anyone else have ideas about where they would use this type of cash influx?
Secondly, Is FM having a difficult time selling ads/filling inventory on the top tech blogs? Over the past couple of weeks, as I browse their network of sites, I see a good number of bottom of the barrel ads running on their sites. It seems like they might not be able to fill the inventory that these sites need. Here are some examples over the past 10 days:
Some kind of download utility – TechCrunch
Supernova from GigaOm – this conference was 3 months ago?
Free iPhone with 1000 offers – Various
Two "we help you break the law speeding" ads – TechDirt and TechCrunch
On the plus side, there are the WebbAlert (shown right)/FM network banners running on many FM sites. These ads makes sense and I like the idea a lot. When you can't fill ads with paying ads, show house publisher ads. I wish all ad networks offered this type of publisher barter. Remove all of the ads listed above and only show the FM network ads. This is a great way for readers of x blog to learn about y blog and vice-versa. These banners also look 1000x better for a site's image than a "punch the donkey, win an iPod" ad. I would recommend they either explain what "SMB" means or change it to something else that people will understand.