As someone from the sales side on Salon/Open Salon, I thought I might add a few words on the introduction of Google AdSense to your blog posts.
Kerry does a fantastic job of explaining how this all works, why we're doing it, and answering the various responses from this vibrant community. Since he covers most of this, and is largely the face of Open Salon, I'll let him continue to field your questions and concerns.
Since we are talking about advertising within Open Salon, a point I would love feedback on is our integration of conversational marketing into Open Salon. As Kerry said, we value your passion and content and want YOU to get paid. We must keep the doors open too, though, and that requires a little bit of creativity around our advertising model. Advertising has seen a recent shift towards a more open, two-way dialogue of marketing that rolls customer service, PR, and messaging into one giant conversation with you. How the consumer responds, shares, creates and engages around a brand is a new measure of success that everyone is trying to grasp.
Open Salon bloggers play a big part in that shift, and you have seen initiatives where we implement this form of advertising with such campaigns as Strong American Schools and Lexus. You participated in creating content around what mattered to these organizations and helped advance the conversation they were trying to have. In SAS's case, they wanted to create a grass roots buzz around education so Obama and McCain would talk about more than just the economy and Iraq. Lexus wanted you to participate in technological and sustainable advancements to demonstrate they are working as a brand on building more efficient cars.
We have more advertisers waiting in the wings to tap into your collective intellect, ask you to participate, listen to you, and respond to be a more responsible brand. You can say it's just advertising and brand positioning, but the true, authentic brands are going to be the ones who win out with this increasingly consumer-driven conversation. Dell is a living example of how a consumer complaint could turn a brand on its head.
I encourage you to post your thoughts in the comments, brands you would like to talk about, and how we might think about the conversational marketing model in different ways.
And best of luck with your Open Salon AdSense accounts. Though I don't think my blog posts about marketing produce the most lucrative click thru's, we can all dream.