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JuiceTorrent lets your supporters run ads to support you

Ok, I think I understand how this works. You sign up with JuiceTorrent. You get a widget to post on your site. It lists a few people who are supporting you. They’re supporting you by putting their own JT widget on their site, saying “I support so-and-so.” In addition, relevant ads are placed in designated spots on your supporters’ sites. The money those ads generate goes to you. So, your supporters get to support you financially by donating a little bit of ad space on their sites.

Interesting. As Emil Sotirov, CEO of the founding company, writes on his blog, JT creates

a new category of social vectors across the online identities of people and organizations – adding the moral and material dimension of “supporting” to the existing “linking,” “friending,” “visiting,”and “following.”

It’s currently in beta…

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9 Responses to “JuiceTorrent lets your supporters run ads to support you”

  1. Sounds a bit like declaring that you are such a big fan of CelebrityX that you offer yourself up to drugs testing with all proceeds directed to them.

    Which would you choose?
    a) revenue from a square inch of ad space on my site
    b) the same space advertising/promoting/recommending you, but no revenue
    c) ten times the ad revenue in (a), but from my pocket and only in exchange for your future output – no 3rd party ads

  2. David,

    Thank you for posting about JuiceTorrent. Do you see JuiceTorrent working for supporting independent journalism?

    Crosbie,

    I’d choose a+b+c. JuiceTorrent does “a+b”, while “c” is what we all do anyway (mostly for “past” output though).

  3. Emil, it’s a neat and ingenious idea, but…

    3rd party advertising has a cost on a website, which I have a hunch greatly outweighs the ad revenue that it can direct to another beneficiary.

    A website with no advertising that promotes artist X may represent a promotional benefit that exceeds that which could be obtained if the same site also had advertising, given the site would then lose visitors in proportion to the intrusion of the ads.

    E.g. Say my site represents a promotional benefit worth $10/annum to David if I have a prominent graphic widget representing my endorsement of the Joho blog – given the goodwill of my audience. If I then also have 3rd party ads generating $1/annum, I exchange a proportion of my audience’s goodwill for ad revenue. The loss of that goodwill may end up reducing the promotional benefit for David to $8 (even though it results in a $1 monetary benefit), and more importantly the ad revenue may be a fraction of the value of the goodwill I’ve lost through having advertising, which may be worth say $100 in promotion costs to remedy.

    Ok, if only a small percentage are put off by the hidden costs (because they don’t recogise them), then dedicating ad revenue to those one endorses may become a popular patronage mechanism, and consequently JuiceTorrent could take off (especially for those already convinced ads are a net benefit).

    It could even be part of the transformation of advertising into an online currency. It’s a bit like adorning one’s car with solar panels, but instead of trickle charging the battery, one directs the energy to a few pop stars who can then harness the crowdsourced power. Unfortunately, everyone’s cars end up heavier, and uglier… and it then becomes a cachet to flaunt an unadorned vehicle.

    There’s no such thing as a free lunch, even if you give it to someone else.

  4. Crosbie,

    The “cost” of advertising on a website is due largely to the fact that it works as a forced “payment” for what you get from this site. The fact that the owner of the site benefits from the ads is the “contaminating” factor. But what if you understand that the ads (on pages with the JuiceTorrent widget) benefit the Red Cross… or the new rock group which you also happen to like (remember, you are visiting the blogs of people whose values and interests you share). Will that still incur a “cost” on this website?

    It is now a cachet to flaunt an ad free blog – because what we see on the web is still a rather mechanical transposition of traditional mass marketing techniques. But I strongly believe the contextual ad spots of today will evolve into smart communication interfaces – ideally – VRM devices in Doc Searls’ sense (see related discussion on Doc’s blog). The now oxymoronic expression of “useful ads” will become a reality.

    BTW… the JT star website or blog doesn’t even need to display the JT widget (even less JT ad spots). Only supporters need to display the widget in order to facilitate its distribution. And (only between us), you can run the JT widget on your blog without activating JT ad spots – as a pure badge of support and belonging to an online community of supporters. Activation of ads is up to you. You’d be maintaining the “moral” component of the supporting vector only. The problem would be – people may start thinking you’re being “cheap” for not putting your unused (ad) space where your mouth (JT widget) is.

    Now, about “the transformation of advertising into an online currency” – you are disclosing our secret plan for world domination… and we may have to kill you if you don’t stop talking… :)

  5. […] David Weinberger: JuiceTorrent lets your supporters run ads to support you […]

  6. I’m not sure that a site owner getting ad revenue is a significant ‘contaminating factor’ (it’s far more contaminating to get a kick-back from direct recommendations than 3rd party ads). Ads simply devalue a site by more than the ad revenue, by inefficiently selling audience attention (to attend to something they did not seek and that 99% of the time is more annoying than interesting) with a hidden cost of their reduced goodwill to the owner.

    Ads are only really sustainable by sites that have little to no goodwill to lose, e.g. high traffic ‘portals’.

    I’m suggesting that if fans, in tending to have destination sites that are sought for their own worth (bloggers), put ads on their sites they will reduce their own site’s appeal (audience goodwill) and thus diminish their ability to promote their favoured artists. It may be better to have 200 readers to which one recommends an artist, than 100 readers and a miniscule amount of directable ad revenue.

    Nevertheless, despite hidden costs, a small proportion of advertising doesn’t completely devalue a site, so especially for those destination sites that already have advertising, if they can be persuaded to redirect the revenue from their own accounts to those of their favoured artists, then they will increase their goodwill (which I contend could be even more increased if they simply ditched the ads entirely, and devoted the space as heartfelt promotion).

    I think advertising has to be considered separately from promotion or endorsement, and patronage. I don’t really like the idea of transducing advertising into the latter, despite recognising that it’s a neat and ingenious idea.

    As for VRM, I don’t think this is so much about improving the relevance of vendors’ ads to their customers, but enabling customers to advertise their wants to vendors. The resulting effect is still improved relevance, but I think it’s best to switch one’s perspective to grok VRM. The Internet is a leveller (vendors are mistaken if they believe it to be an even more powerful advertising/sales medium only in their favour), not a reverser (punters aren’t going to end up bullying vendors), which makes traders out of all of us. We’re all selling/buying/communicating what we have and what we want, with a view to trade – advertising/consideration. In addition to material trade, we’re also engaging in cultural exchange, in conversations concerning art – promotion/patronage and discovery/findage(?).

    Markets are conversations, and conversations are markets.

    It doesn’t matter what your perspective is, but it should be recognised that there are considerable losses/inefficiences involved in transduction between unrelated interests, e.g. transduction of the value placed on an audience’s (costly) consideration of what they’re probably not interested in, into promotional patronage of what they probably are interested in.

    I may be biased (and wrong), but I think it’s better for a blogger to patronise their favoured artists with hard cash, than it is to obtain the equivalent sum from the poor value-for-money sale of their audience’s attention.

  7. Ads are only really sustainable by sites that have little to no goodwill to lose, e.g. high traffic `portals’.

    This simply is not true. Just take a look at these blogs (from my blogroll):

    http://www.avc.com/a_vc/2006/06/ads_on_this_blo.html
    http://www.feld.com/blog
    http://discussionleader.hbsp.com/haque
    http://battellemedia.com

    The first one (Fred Wilson) is a VC – a rich guy who donates all his ad revenue to charities. His yearly ad revenue is about $40,000.

    The second (Brad Feld) is also a VC… and I’m almost sure he’s also giving away his ad revenue.

    The ads definitely don’t hurt the goodwill of those two – I’d argue they add to it.

  8. Ok Emil, I can see I need to be a little more careful. :-)

    How about this revision? “Ads are only really sustainable by sites whose utility or goodwill greatly exceeds the goodwill lost through permitting 3rd party ads, e.g. high traffic portals, very popular destinations, ‘A list’ bloggers, etc. In other words, not the majority of fans blogging about their favourite artists.”

    I still maintain that 3rd party ads hurt/lose goodwill, even for the examples you give.

    See a comment on the first: “Fair enough, but I find the presence of ads on a blog the equivalent of junk mail. If I could turn them off I would do so in an instant.”

    Why do ads generate revenue? Because the revenue is (partial) compensation for the cost to the host of those ads. If the hidden cost of hosting 3rd party ads was more widely appreciated the ad revenue would increase.

    I fancy getting into the contra-market, e.g. “Dear readers, if you collectively match my expected ad revenue for the next month of $50, I will disable 3rd party ads for that month”. With a funky rider: “However, if the advertisers respond with a counter-offer, not only will I reimburse you, but I will provide you with an equal share of the excess”. After all, if it’s the readers whose attention is being sold, they might as well be entitled to get in on the deal eh? ;-)

  9. […] JT discussed on Doc Searls blog and David Weinberger’s blog  […]

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