Results tagged “Long Tail Alliance” from IABlog

This week, IAB brought together 44 small publishers from 18 states to visit Capitol Hill for the IAB Fourth Annual Long Tail Alliance ‘Fly-In’.

While much attention in the digital ecosystem is paid to the larger players, a growing and vital part of this world are the small businesses. These small shops are often at the cutting edge of breakthroughs in information and entertainment, and they truly represent the sort of self-empowerment that we value as Americans. By convening members of IAB’s Long Tail Alliance, we can show policymakers the real difference that these pioneers are making in the field.

During this week’s Fly-In, members of the IAB Long Tail Alliance joined IAB in the nation’s capital to meet with members of the U.S. Congress and their staffs to give legislators and policymakers a better, fuller understanding of the challenges and concerns facing online entrepreneurs and the negative impact that legislation and regulations may have on their livelihoods and businesses. Since most of these smaller digital companies are dependent on advertising revenue, the policies that impact digital advertising have a direct link to their livelihoods.

IAB Long Tail AllianceIt is vital for Congressional leaders to consider and appreciate the consequences of their work in the online arena of our members—many of whom are small, family-owned businesses that rely heavily on advertising to sustain their entrepreneurial mission. The timely, grassroots message that the IAB Long Tail Alliance brings to Capitol Hill each year is a key reminder of the growing importance of small digital businesses to our industry and to the overall national economy.

These IAB members not only represent the best of the internet—they represent what the ‘American Dream’ is all about. These are passionate small business owners, many of whom are home-based, who took a hobby and made it into a career. Many of their sites exist to serve a strong social or community purpose, generate rich content, and all provide a valuable niche service to users. They are changing the landscape of digital media every day for the better. I often hear chatter about how politicians should look out for the little guy—well, the little has done digital.

IAB’s Long Tail Alliance Fly-In was launched in June 2009. Since then, hundreds of ad- supported small publishers have networked with lawmakers and staff in the U.S. House and Senate to ensure their voices are heard and valued, and to share their perspectives on how additional legislative action could create unwarranted and unmanageable barriers to their current operations and prospects for future growth.

These online entrepreneurs are the new face of small business in America, and it is crucial that their voices are heard on Capitol Hill. If you are one the scores of digital pioneers out there who want to have more of a say in how policy affects your business, I would invite you to find out more about the IAB Long Tail Alliance. This is a special member category for publishers who sell online advertising opportunities indirectly, through ad networks or directly, and have revenues under $1 million per year. To learn more and to find out how to qualify for membership, visit www.iab.net/longtailalliance.

About the Author

Alison Pepper

Alison Pepper

Alison Pepper is Senior Director of Public Policy, Interactive Advertising Bureau.

 

Thirty-seven years ago I was fresh out of college and had started my own residential renovation and construction company. The Internet may have existed back in 1974 in some crude form, but I didn’t see it for another twenty-one years just after I transitioned from day-to-day construction work to that of a syndicated newspaper columnist helping consumers discover the best products and techniques for their homes.

Fast forward to today, and I’ve witnessed the golden age of the print industry and its subsequent demise. The growth and speed of solving problems that the Internet offers was too much for an industry dependent on dead trees. That is, after all, one of the most basic reasons anyone uses the Internet - to solve a problem.

iab-lta-logo-red.pngBut many manufacturers and service providers have been dragging their feet with respect to directly investing in this fledgling industry that’s now really only fifteen years old with respect to actual commercial use of the Internet. For decades and decades manufacturers of products made massive investments in the print industry. This revenue source allowed them to staff up and be ready to get news out about products and innovations.

Ad networks have grown tremendously in the past decade allowing advertisers to reach consumers, but the ad buyers have overlooked websites that carry all the water. Very little direct ad buys have been made that allow website owners to grow and flourish.

Just two months ago I was at a press event hosted by DeWALT Tools in Baltimore, Maryland. One of their top product managers said to me as the event was coming to a close, “Tim, you probably realize that we’re depending more and more on websites like AsktheBuilder.com to get the word out to consumers.” After a brief back and forth in the conversation, I exclaimed, “Wow, I don’t know if that’s a wise thing to do as the ecosystem you’re depending on is very fragile and only one or two of my peer websites have more than one person producing content. Many websites are run by owners that only do it part time.”

The shock on the face of this businessman was profound. He told me he had never given any thought to the business end of content creation websites like mine. As I waited for my airplane, I decided that many other manufacturers were in the same boat. They really had no clue as to how rapidly the transition from print to Internet was happening. In addition, I felt these people on the other side of the fence had no idea about the underlying infrastructure of the content websites. Little did they know these publications are not really ready to handle the entire information load that is being aimed at them.

The numbers of press releases that have come my way have increased well over 300 percent in the past few months. It’s only going to get worse. Yet, I don’t have the resources to hire two, three or four full-time people to handle this load.

To process and share this information, content websites in every vertical need to staff up. There are thousands of qualified writers and other content creators that are the detritus of the catering print industry. These people need jobs. Websites like AsktheBuilder.com are only too happy to hire them. But one needs resources to do this.

The conversation with the DeWALT product manager was the seed from which the position paper I published just a week ago grew. This whitepaper details the paradigm shift that’s just recently happened and how websites have so much more to offer than traditional print.

The best part is that all this can be offered to manufacturers for less than they used to invest in the print industry. It’s a new day for consumers, manufacturers and those independent third-party websites that provide a great resource to consumers by honestly telling them the truth about products. At the end of the day, that’s really what consumers want - they want the Easy Button. They just want to be told the truth as to what works and what the best value is for their dollar.

As soon as manufacturers start directly investing in great content websites, they’ll get the word out in minutes and hours not days and weeks as happened in the past with the print industry.

About the Author

sp_carter_tim.jpgTim Carter
Founder, AskTheBuilder.com

Tim Carter is a member of the IAB Long Tail Alliance, and also recently participated in its recent Washington Fly-In. He can be reached on Twitter at @AskTheBuilder and through his website AskTheBuilder.com.