Many have asked why Political Wire switched to a membership model last year. The answer is very simple: digital advertising is broken.
There was a time when the publisher could sell advertisers access to an audience. The incentives were perfectly in line: Publishers who put out a quality publication attracted a quality audience which made sense to quality advertisers. All parties had a stake in the system.
But as publishing moved to the Internet and digital ads evolved, the incentives grew out of whack. Publishers no longer have a direct relationship with most advertisers. Instead they increasingly use ad networks. These ad networks pool an audience across thousands of different publications and websites. Advertisers tell the networks what audience they want to target and their ads are shown wherever those readers happen to be visiting.
What does this mean? Publishers no longer have direct relationships with advertisers so they try to make themselves as attractive to ad networks as they can. This often means sharing personal data about their readers and resorting to other reader unfriendly tactics to show as many ads as they can. Advertisers no longer care about individual publications since their audience may come from thousands of different sites.
To make matters worse, the Internet has a virtually unlimited inventory of ad space which drives prices down to ridiculously low prices. This often leads to ads that are in very poor taste.
The membership model is much more direct and honest. Publishers are directly accountable to their readers. That’s it.
If you’re a regular reader and not yet a member, please consider it. In addition to supporting a site you love, you’ll also get exclusive analysis, new features and no advertising.Save to Favorites