Federated Media Publishing launches Tech Blog


We are excited to announce Federated Media Publishing’s new Tech Blog. With FMP’s recent acquisition of Lijit Networks, technology has come to the forefront of the company’s business strategy and the new blog will share details about current and future technology initiatives.

Employees across FMP will lift the curtain and talk about the high level technology behind FMP’s advertiser and publisher products and services.  As Tim Musgrove, Chief Scientist and FMP, states: “we’ll share some of the results, surprises and problems we’ve uncovered along the way, as well as our ideas on where things might go in the future.”

We already have a few posts up about current initiatives at FMP:

  • Our very own Todd Vernon, Founder and CEO of Lijit and now EVP of Technology at FMP, provides his thoughts on how FMP’s acquisitions of Lijit, TextDigger, FoodBuzz, and BigTent will help turn FMP into a top 5 media property.
  • FMP Chief Scientist Tim Musgrove provides a deep dive into Conversation Targeting (CT), a top technology priority for the company in early 2012.
  • Peter Ridge, Senior Director of Product Management at FMP, discusses security requirements for a wireless network.

Please take a moment to check out the new site, and let us know what you think!

Lijit’s RTB efforts deliver more money to online publishers


Many of you are witness to a shift in the world of online advertising that sees ad networks being replaced by programmatic buying technologies like real-time bidding (RTB) and private exchanges. Technologies like these deliver greater return to both advertisers and publishers by enabling them to connect directly to each other. Advertisers set a price for what they’re willing to pay to access a publisher’s audience, and publishers gain greater control over their inventory while at the same time exposing it to a larger pool of demand sources. RTB is what enables this interaction between advertiser and publisher to take place.

Publishers are the core of our business, and because of that we are constantly looking for new ways to deliver higher CPMs and fill rates. When it comes to RTB, the more DSPs we integrate with, the more access brand advertisers have to our publishers’ inventory. The more demand from brand advertisers, the higher the return we can deliver to publishers.

Today we are pleased to announce our latest RTB integration with XA.net, our newest partner. The partnership with XA.net comes on the heels of a handful of other recent integrations with industry-leading DSPs including MediaMath, m6d, Chango, and MyBuys. With these and many more planned for the coming months, publishers should continue to see higher returns from Lijit’s online advertising services.


Publisher Spotlight: DearBlankPleaseBlank


DearBlankPleaseBlank.com was started by Jared Wunsch and Hans Johnson as a hobby while the two were still in undergraduate school. What it has grown into is a collection of websites that also includes IWasteSoMuchTime.com, AttackoftheCute.com, and GrouchyRabbit.com. Collectively they see almost 45 million pageviews per month!

Lijit sat down with Jared Wunsch to find out some of his tricks of the trade. Read on to see what he has to say…

Q: What was your original goal for DearBlankPleaseBlank.com?

A: We were just two kids in college who liked technology and wanted to create stuff online for fun. We took an “if you build it they will come” philosophy and because we didn’t build the site to make money, we designed it exactly how we wanted to without an ad-focused layout in mind. I think that’s part of why we’ve been able to build such an audience… because they see that we’re truly authentic.

Q: You started DearBlankPleaseBlank.com less than two years ago, and have now grown into four sites with a pretty impressive readership! How were you able to grow your traffic so quickly?

A: We listen to our readers. We spend a lot of time on our sites… learning who our users are, what their demographic is, and the kind of content they want to engage with. We get to know our users by actively participating in the conversation, providing comments, and taking feedback into account. We also try to keep things current based on what’s going on in the world. All of this has allowed us to build a pretty strong community that keeps coming back for more.

Read the rest of this entry »

Direct Sales vs. Programmatic Sales


Direct sales and programmatic sales are often discussed as competing functions within the publisher business model.  However, the two channels are distinct enough that they should not compete with each other.  In fact, the most successful publishers we work with from a revenue standpoint have a strong aptitude for managing direct and programmatic sales alongside one another.  In order to do so most effectively, it is important to understand the distinctions.  Specifically, the following five points cover some of the things that publishers can offer advertisers through direct sales that they cannot get through programmatic channels:

  1. The guarantee/sponsorship/future: Advertisers want the guarantee of being placed next to premium content, above the fold, in front of a guaranteed set of eyeballs, for a specific period of time, at a set rate.  Further, media buyers are tasked with spending 100% of their budgets for fear they are reduced next quarter because they didn’t spend enough.  Without a guarantee in place with publishers, their media spend is at risk of (a) not being spent or (b) being spent in less than ideal context at the end of a fiscal period.  Programmatic buying technology like real time bidding (RTB) provides advertisers/media buyers no guarantee on price, contextual placement, or impression volume.
  2. Site takeovers and other non-standard ad units: A site takeover or “skin” is very visible to a reader, generates high CTRs, and creates brand awareness.  Because of this, takeovers have very high CPM rates and cannot easily be bought or sold on an exchange due to the infinite ways for designing and architecting a site.  Likewise, ad units that are not standard IAB sizes (160×600, 300×250, 728×90) can and should be integrated into the unique design and architecture of a site, and sold for premium prices.
  3. Banners integrated with content: Below is a banner from Miller Light from my Fantasy Football league that has been creatively integrated with content.  This banner shows the score of the Fantasy game each week and allows Fantasy players to “Smack Talk.”  This must have been an expensive campaign due to the way it is integrated into the site. The more integrated the advertisement is into the content of the site, the less the chance that an algorithm can decide the price programmatically.
  4. The leading edge of media technology: While there are emerging exchanges for both video and mobile inventory, nothing yet exists that is as efficient as the market for standard IAB display banners.  Publishers can much more easily package and directly sell media like video, audio, mobile web, and applications than any exchange currently can.  Even as exchanges mature for some of these types of media, there will always be something that is a little newer or more innovative than that which can be quickly commoditized.
  5. Conversation: Publishers have their own brand.  And in the age of social media, brands need to be a part of the conversation.  Blog posts, comments, and tweets are where this conversation lives in a public forum.  The influence of a publisher’s brand within the conversation should not be underestimated—marketers are willing to pay a lot for it.  This is something that our sister company, Federated Media Publishing, is pioneering across the Independent Web.

So why in the world would advertisers ever buy programmatically?  It comes down to one thing: audience data.  I will delve deeper into this subject in my next post and explore some ways publishers can manage their programmatic channels more effectively.  Again, the better a publisher is at understanding the distinctions between programmatic and direct, the better the two channels can compliment each other, working together to maximize inventory value and revenue.

Lijit offers help to SAY Media publishers


We caught wind of some changes over at SAY Media. Seems they have asked some of their smaller publishers to find an alternate ad network.

We could speculate as to why they made this decision, but that really does not matter much.

What does matter is the publisher.

We would love to extend an invitation to any publishers who would like to work with us over here at Lijit.

Publishers are our people.

Let us know right away if we can help you continue your revenue stream – especially at the most important time of the year.

Here is more information on our ad services.

Please email us and a member of our publisher development team will be in touch shortly. We look forward to working with you.

Happy Holidays!

Introducing Lijit’s Advertiser Insights for online publishers.


It is a core company philosophy at Lijit that from an analytics perspective we feed as much data as possible back to our publishers, and that we make the data so easily digestible that you can take immediate action on it. It’s what we like to refer to as “actionable analytics.”

Today Lijit released a new tool as part of our audience analytics platform called Advertiser Insights. Advertiser Insights provides publishers with a list of the top brands that align to your site’s readers. Publishers can use this data to support direct sales efforts as well as to develop editorial content that better attracts top brand advertisers. Any publisher using any of Lijit’s services (ad services, analytics, and/or reader engagement tools) now receives Advertiser Insights in their publisher dashboard – just log in today and check it out!

Simple to digest? Couldn’t be easier.

What’s cool about our new Advertiser Insights data is that it highlights the brands that align to your site’s readers, not just your site itself. It aggregates all of the data we have as readers traverse the entire Lijit network, and provides the information back to publishers to apply directly to your site.

With over 150,000 sites and 300 million global uniques, the Lijit Network continues to grow exponentially. We’ve seen a 700% growth in ad calls in 2011 alone, and currently deliver over 11 billion ad impressions each month. Now that’s a lot of reader data we’re trying to reflect back to publishers!

As we look for new ways to help publishers build their business using valuable analytics, we will continue to leverage the power of the Lijit Network to help publishers grow their site and make more money through targeted advertising. To read more about the value of a network, check out a previous blog post from Lijit’s COO Walter Knapp, “For a Publisher, the Network Matters.”

ad:tech and The Unofficial User Generated Music Party


Last week a group of us here at Lijit ventured to New York City for the annual ad:tech New York event. ad:tech is always one of the industry’s biggest events of the year and this year proved to be no different. The event brings together industry professionals from all aspects of the digital space – from the extensive amount of publishers present, to technology providers, and everyone in between, the opportunities for networking and idea sharing were endless!

To kick-off ad:tech, Lijit co-hosted the Unofficial User Generated Music party along with M6D, AdSafe, Audience Science, and Pubmatic. With more than 1,000 people in attendance, the evening was definitely one to be remembered!

The amazing night of entertainment began with an industry band—Something Heavy—and was followed up by rock star live band Karaoke. Lijit’s very own Manny Puentes graced the stage and proved that CTO’s can sing too! Check out pictures from the event below…

A big thank you to all Lijit publishers who came and supported this event as well as our new FMP team members in the New York office!

How to use LinkedIn to build your brand, grow your network, and make more money


So you’ve managed to imbue your articles and posts with wit and creativity. Check. You’ve developed an audience. Check. You’ve embraced the twitterverse and gotten positive response but you’re still not getting paid.  Wait, what? Every day I meet new people who are in the various stages of monetizing their website through online advertising. From seasoned veterans to the novice looking for a turnkey solution, one aspect of connecting with your prospective income conduit is often overlooked: the personal branding found on LinkedIn.

Many publishers embrace the anonymity that is afforded them through their work by posting in a pen name or simply staying under the radar. When it comes to digging up information about potential advertisers it’s a cold case with no leads. If you want to make money with your content, and you should, let it be known who you are and why the world should do business with you. There are literally hundreds of options out there waiting at your beck and call to put a dollar sign in front of that talent if they could just find you.

Read the rest of this entry »

How to turn your hobby into a business: lessons learned from Lijit publisher Kurt Kohlstedt


Longtime Lijit publisher Kurt Kohlstedt is the Founder and Executive Editor of Webist Publishing and Misnamed Media. His collection of sites include WebUrbanist, WebEcoist, Dornob, and Gajitz – which each have their own theme relating to creative, innovative, and sustainable art, architecture, and design.

Kurt is the quintessential mid-size Lijit publisher who has used online advertising to successfully transition his hobby into a business. Read on to learn how Kurt got his start and how he built his business using analytics and online advertising.

How did you get your start in the world of online publishing?

I was finishing my graduate degree in architecture and slowly began to realize that I was equally interested (if not more) in writing about design as I was in becoming an architecture professional. It was at that point I decided to give online publishing a shot as a full-time career. I built an audience by testing out various topics and found a nice balance between what I liked to write about and what people liked to read. I launched my first site, WebUrbanist, in the middle of 2007.

Read the rest of this entry »

Introducing… The New Lijit Weekly Stats Email!


One of the core pillars at Lijit is a fundamental belief in providing online publishers with “actionable analytics.” We use the term “actionable analytics” to describe the concept of giving publishers access to meaningful, easy-to-understand data that can be used to better engage your readers, grow your website, and make more money. It’s data that publishers can take action on.

This week we are rolling out a brand new, completely revamped weekly stats email that provides publishers with highlights on site performance and other relevant data. Every publisher using Lijit’s tools and services – whether it’s our ad services, analytics, or reader engagement tools (site search, reader widgets, etc.) – receives a weekly email customized to the type of tools and services deployed.

Only interested in ad services? Your weekly email focuses on what you care about – ad performance and revenue. Interested in advertising but still want analytics about your site’s audience? Your email has the best of both worlds because it combines ad performance statistics with audience data to give you a 360 degree view of your site. Layer on top any of our reader engagement tools and you also receive search and reader data to help you learn about your audience and keep them on-site longer. The more tools and services you have, the more data we provide!

The new weekly stats email complements your existing publisher dashboard, which contains more detailed information for publishers to drill down into specifics on ad performance, audience statistics, and search behavior.

Check your inbox this Sunday night and please send us your feedback!