Reusing DFP slots within infinite scroll

Infinite scroll on the index view and article view seems to be all the rage these days. TIME reports their bounce rate went down by 15 percentage points with their redesign. At some point in the discussion, AdOps will raise their hand and say “how can we get ads in the scroll experience?”

Short answer: with code! Because AdOps only wants to create a limited set of ad slots, and Google DFP slots can be used once per page, you’ll need to display the slot first, and reload it for each subsequent use.

The slots are added dynamically as the user scrolls. If a given slot has already been loaded once, then the next time we try to use it we actually pull the first instance over to our new slot, reload it, and add a placeholder for its old position so the page height doesn’t jump. We can use the same trick scrolling back up, simply replacing the placeholder with the refreshed ad.

Google’s documentation has a similar example that’s a good reference point for methods, etc. Pay attention to googletag.refresh( unit ); and googletag.pubads().refresh([unitInstance]);unitInstance is what’s returned by googletag.defineSlot(), so you’ll need to store that somewhere for later reference.

I look forward to hearing about the straightforward approach I missed…

News sites as “angry fruit salad on meth”

I made the mistake of going to a website today. It’s understandable, of course — everybody does it, from time to time — and I’m sure I’ll forgive myself, eventually.

I don’t mean just any website, of course, I mean a publication. A place where a business publishes interesting things that I like to read.

I couldn’t hit the Reader button in Safari fast enough. In fact, I couldn’t hit it at all, so stunned was I by the flickering colorful circus the page presented. It was like angry fruit salad on meth.

Brent Simmons — The Pummeling Pages (via Andrew)

Thoughts on journalists using Facebook

First, Brian Boyer wrote: “Craigslist takes the classifieds, fool me once. Groupon takes the coupons, fool me twice. Good thing nobody else is selling display ads!”

Then, Nieman Journalism let Vadim Lavrusik publish essentially marketing copy about how journalists can use Facebook’s Pages product. For free. In exchange for the ability to run ads against your content.

To this, I said: “I’m sorry, but journalists getting in bed with Facebook is the mother of all bad ideas. See: http://db.ly/103 Shame on you @niemanlab

And: “Newspapers sell display ads, last I checked. Facebook has a many billion $ valuation from its display ad biz. Therefore = ?”

And: “‘Here’s the problem: journalists just don’t understand their business.’ I couldn’t have said it better myself.”

And: “Yo journos: How much cash will Facebook give you when it goes public with a $50+ billion valuation? My bet: a lot less than Arianna did.”

Now Paul Bradshaw, a prominent journo-blogger in the UK, has decided to use Facebook’s Notes product exclusively for a month. Vadim, under the Facebook for Journalists moniker, explains:

But to answer your question, you should reference the terms. You own your content. Facebook gets a license so that we can put ads next to it. Not dissimilar from other companies.

Ah, referencing ever-changing terms of service. If you aren’t the customer, you’re the product. Writing these points out on territory I control so I can point to it later.

Framework for reinventing classifieds

This is a framework for inventing a better Craigslist.

It is highly unlikely that newspapers will reclaim the monopoly they had on classified advertising pre-internet. They controlled the platform before the internet, and were able to dictate what information used their print pages to gain readers and audience. Some newspapers have lost control of the platform completely and the ones that haven’t will follow suit. Newspapers won’t be able to reclaim the classified advertising space by using the old mental framework for thinking about classifieds, by pretending they might be able to own the platform and charge access to it. Instead, it’s imperative to take the approach of hacking the platform and adding functionality, value, and convenience.

Remember Friendster? I don’t. I never had an account. It was upstaged by MySpace, where I had an account for a few months before it became uncool to do so. MySpace was then upstaged by Facebook. Yes, I’ll concede that MySpace has a large userbase, but its value in the mindspace of the users is rapidly diminishing and there’s a big need for creativity. Fortunately for everyone involved, there’s a low barrier to disruption on the internet.

The real way local news organizations can upset Craigslist and build a better classifieds is simple: create a micro-currency. In addition to providing a more user-friendly interface and the ability to add better meta data, news organizations with a specific geographic community should establish a currency to “monetize” the local marketplace. As Douglas Rushkoff says, the web, and web 2.0 especially, is breaking existing institutions because it allows people to create value on the periphery again. Local news organizations are in a unique, and therefore advantageous, position to provide the platform with which to capture the value of local transactions.

Continue reading

Vetting advertisers

Yesterday, I off-handedly had an idea that could be a business model for news organizations: vetting advertisers. Under the assumption that an organization practicing journalism builds its credibility though truthfulness, transparency, and accuracy, there exists the possibility that they could then monetize that credibility by taking product claims through the ringer. Not selling out, per se, but rather by selling time and attention. Companies would pay you because they want to be associated with your authority; in order to get this authority, however, they’d have to surpass a set of open source criteria. We shouldn’t be taking the human touch out of advertising because then, every so often, you get something like this:

google-reader-502

at the bottom of an article about bottled water and greenwash advertising. In my opinion, Lighter Footstep is now sending two contradictory messages: bottled water is killing our environment, and that I should pay a premium to have bottled water shipped from the South Pacific. This juxtaposition is broken because the misleading advertising has the opportunity to negate the value of the journalism.

Later: Dave Winer speculates on a “Digg for ads” which falls under this same idea of vetting advertisements (although crowdsourcing this time).