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Federated Media Archive
Federated Media is damn smart. Last year they took a popular television star for 15-35 year old men, created a video show where she could in-part pimp blogs that use FM for ad sales. While there were some issues with disclosure, it was a smart move as it could keep the wagons circling around FM. Today’s launch makes the above referenced campaign look like a kid’s meal at McDs.
The new program is called ExecTweets and I am sure you read about it on a variety of blogs today. If you haven’t heard about it – here’s the net takeaway… FM has sold some ads/sponsorships to Microsoft to create a new site called ExecTweets which will feature twitter messages from "executives" in a variety of categories. Twitter apparently will receive some revenue for pimping ExecTweets. Fine, another directory of Twitter users, yay.
BUT… there’s one important point that it seems all of the bloggers missed…
This is an absolutely awesome, intelligent marketing play for FM. Think about it – their job is to sell ads for the sites they represent. So now they have a central hub for all of the major companies and their "executive" twitter users right there for them. And I am sure each and every "executive" Twitter user will either want to be listed or will talk up the site – which will, in turn, talk up FM. Microsoft and Twitter really get the short end of the stick here.
Next, compounding the smartness, is how they appear to have selected the listed bloggers. On the ExecTweets about page, they list all of the "executives" in the system. Only two bloggers are listed, both are default Twitter users as well, Michael Arrington and Pete Cashmore. Both are users who basically only pimp out their story links and both use FM for ad sales. So just like with the Webb Alert, you see the circle of FM moving full blast. FM pimps two blogs that use FM for ad sales so any additional pageviews that FM generates for these two blogs through ExecTweets benefits them again with ads that FM handles. I assume they will add more bloggers and the traffic will be low but it’s still a smart move - why not keep users inside the FM network as much as possible.
Of course as Peter Kafka notes, most Twitter users won’t use the site for a number of reasons. But even if no one uses the site, it’s still a smart move for FM.
Morgan Webb’s WebbAlert show has stop filming as of today. She noted in her farewell post, "When I started WebbAlert, my TV show X-Play only taped three episodes a week so I had the time to dedicate my video blog. At the beginning of the year, X-Play expanded to five episodes, and the last year has been a lot of work trying to keep up with both projects."
The show never seemed to get much play with the tech blogosphere although I can’t think of any of the "quick news recap from yesterday" shows that really have taken off in terms of traffic or attention. My guess is that some linking from X-Play may have helped.
WebbAlert was supported/sponsored by Federated Media. The FM advertising page for WebbAlert has continued to show a decline in pageviews, with 60,000/month currently being reported. The show seemed to have some sponsorship but nothing as of late although the tip jar has always remained prominent on the site. With such a small pageview number, FM shouldn’t be affected by the closure.
When WebbAlert launched we reported on the issues that surrounded the show from a linking perspective. We followed up with a post about disclosure. This past year we reported on issues with disclosure with regards to other video reporters.
Last month during NYC"s first Internet Week, Federated Media held their Conversational Marketing Summit. I was scheduled to cover the event but after Dave McClure offered me a speaking opportunity at the same time at Graphing Social Patterns, I had to pass on CMS. Luckily the Federated Media team has posted videos of the entire event and if you are into social media, internet marketing or the "conversation" – the videos are well worth watching. The audio is perfect for an iPod walk or for a train ride.
The videos aren’t embed friendly which is interesting because that’s limiting the conversation. Wouldn’t Federated Media want viewers to spread the videos and thereby share the conversation? John, do the smart thing and make the videos embeddable!
Anyway, there’s 16 hours of free videos from a group of industry experts – get your watch on!
Tomorrow at the Conversational Marketing Summit in NYC, ad network Federated Media (FM) will make two announcements: the launch of the Conversational Measurement Toolbox and that they will now represent hardware reviews and forums network AnandTech. Federated Media describes the toolbox as, "a suite of campaign measurement, planning and reporting tools offering marketers greater control and insight into their conversational marketing efforts." The company claims that this is a first-of-its-kind offering.
The system will suck data out of the analytics tools used by FM publishers and then aggregate the data back to the advertisers with a focus on conversational metrics. There’s also an API for developers to use who want to leverage the analytics that FM is collecting. No specific analytical categories have been provided yet. Once I get access to the system, I will provide a more in depth review.
Federated Media CEO John Battelle is also a board member of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and will now sit on the social media measurement taskforce to ensure that the Conversational Measurement Toolbox work follows whatever the IAB pushes in terms of standards and guidelines.
Perhaps the development of this new measurement toolbox is where some of the new $50 million in VC funding has gone.
In other news, ultra popular, been around forever, hardware news, reviews and community forum site AnandTech has joined the FM publisher network. AnandTech reports 8 million monthly users with over 55 million pageviews. I guess this is a good replacement for Ars Technica which has left FM after being acquired by Conde Nast.
Eric Eldon at Venture Beat is reporting on a rumor that ad network Federated Media has raised $50 million in venture capital on a $200 million valuation. Eric told me the source is solid but of course take all rumors as just that. To-date Federated Media has raised just over $7 million including $4.5 million last August.
Eldon notes regarding Federated Media’s (FM) income statement, "The Sausalito, Calif.-based company generated roughly $20 million to $23 million in revenue last year (not profit), according to one of the sources. Both sources say that FM is on target to make around $60 million this year, with some profit."
FM has done an amazing job of signing on the top blogs and Web sites and has pushed the envelope (and asked for forgiveness). All of the Web 1.0 ad networks that are still around could learn a few things from FM.
Stefanie Olsen at CNET has an interview with Federated Media’s (FM) John Battelle today. In the interview Battelle speaks about ad networks, how FM works, funding, and the future for FM. It’s well worth a read along with Battelle’s discussion about ad networks. There’s an interesting discussion of the interview on SAI.
We’ve written about FM a variety of times including their funding announcement last summer. In the post about the funding, we asked if they were having trouble filling their client’s inventory as "Zwinky" and "Free iPod" banners aren’t paying the rates listed on FM’s Web site. I still see many default ads across the FM network today.
I applied to join FM about a year ago and was declined due to traffic. Since then I have attempted to apply two other times and have received no feedback on either application. In some ways, it’s great to watch what FM is doing from the sidelines.
For the majority of us, when we start a blog or Web site, we begin with Google AdSense or Yahoo Publisher Network and move through the ad network ranks over time. For many the goal is to sell advertising directly as every ad network will take a cut. The best scenario is to sell your own and have an ad network backfill the unsold inventory.
What I like about FM is that they appear to understand blogs and have also been able to sign some major clients including Toshiba, Sun, Microsoft, etc. I am quite sure that in the 12 years I’ve been with Burst Media they haven’t been able to sign as many top technology companies as FM has in their short lifetime.
FM has pushed the envelope several times with their "conversational marketing" programs. Each time a blog shitstorm is created but at the end of the day, new advertising conversations have started because of the envelope being pushed. I haven’t always agreed with what they have tried but they are open to discussion which is a good thing. Check out my initial review of Webb Alert for an example.
I’ve stressed to both Burst Media and Tribal Fusion that they need to move past 1998 or they will be pushed aside by FM and others like them. The ad networks we are seeing today understand social media, blogs and are innovating in the ad network space. Brands want to connect to social media and are looking for more than just a traditional banner ad buy. Even something as simple as selling 125 pixel squares is missing on the majority of ad networks.
On a side note, Battelle’s Conversational Marketing Summit is coming to NYC as part of Internet Week in June. I have expressed interest to FM either as a speaker/panelist or as a media attendee.
Federated Media (FM) announced today their continued "conversational marketing" push; this time with Facebook applications Graffiti Wall and Watercooler. HP and Wacom are two of the initial sponsors launching conversational marketing campaigns on Graffiti Wall. It’s a smart move for FM to get in early.
From the release, "As part of these efforts, HP is adding a branded print button to all existing and new Graffiti illustrations, allowing users an easy way to bring their creations to life on paper." I have always thought the HP Print buttons on some of the FM blogs was a paid slot – perhaps this solidifies my thought.
John Battelle, founder and CEO of Federated Media said of the deal, “Federated Media is about bringing new kinds of conversations to author-driven websites, applications and anywhere online there is a community.
Nick from All Facebook says, "Federated Media is now the largest advertising network to join the Facebook platform. This is a monumental step that will surely legitimize the platform’s potential." Lolz! Yea Nick, this legitimizes the platform. Yea, if you really believe that, I’ve got a bridge to sell you Nick.
Other players include VideoEgg who we interviewed last month. Both VideoEgg and now Federated Media are monetizing the apps built on the Facebook Platform. Is there enough to monetize here? We shall see in the coming year. Will FM want to work with apps who can’t provide (at least) the level of traffic Graffiti Wall and Watercooler are?
Check out our previous Federated Media coverage.