A brief editorial as this month’s actualité has been prolific. I will take the opportunity to provide some housekeeping advice to readers and potential advertisers in Oil IT Journal. For some time now we have offered ‘sponsored links’ to companies mentioned in Oil IT Journal. I editorialized on these in my February 2008 editorial. The links have proved moderately successful, as have our website home page sponsorship slots. But I want to emphasize that such ad-revenue is totally secondary to our main revenues generating activity which is content provision to subscribers.
A few words on the mechanics of our production process will help you understand how this works. First we decide what articles are going in to the newsletter. Then, about a week before publication, we email companies that we will be writing about to invite them to pony-up a modest amount for a sponsored link on a ‘take-it-or– leave-it basis.’ The links appear in print and online, in both our full text, subscription editions and the public headlines-only site.
For a long time I have been reflecting that the links business has actually detracted from our content provision in a small, but to my mind, irritating way. Before the paid-for links, we liberally sprinkled the Journal with hotlinks and website references. Once we started selling links, we cut back on the ‘free’ references, forgetting our pact with our subscribers.
I had my eureka moment this month—actually it was more of a Homer Simpson ‘duh’ moment—why should the advertising process deprive subscribers of useful links? We are changing tack. From now on, link sponsors will see their links added to the public online edition and into the RSS feeds, but we will provide links and/or contact information in the full text and print editions for all of our articles. A return to the status quo ante.
Will this mean a massive defection from our link sponsors? I think not and anyhow, I don’t really care. We introduced our ads to take a little oxygen from our competitors’ air. A strategy that has seen modest success. But we compete by providing quality content, by being on the spot and now, with more useful links.
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