WordPress to Say Media: Happy New Year, and Thanks for the Customers

One Blogging Platform Deems Some Sites Too Small for Ads

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Bloggers using the TypePad platform received an email last month from Say Media, which owns TypePad, informing them that Say would stop offering advertising services to customers whose websites registered fewer than 500,000 daily impressions. Those who not meeting the traffic minimum could still use Typepad but would have to find a third-party provider to serve ads on their sites.

Cue the lurking competitor, entering stage right: WordPress. In a post on its support forum Tuesday titled "Say Media Bloggers Welcome to WordAds," WordPress.com said, "We recently caught wind that Say Media is terminating some advertising programs for bloggers with less than 500,000 page views per day. ... If you are a Say Media blogger whose account has been terminated and are interested in learning more about WordAds to see if it might be a good fit for you, please apply here or get in touch by contacting jon.burke[at]automattic.com." A company spokesman also said WordPress.com would reach out to TypePad bloggers in forums they frequent.

WordAds, expected to launch later this quarter, is a partnership between WordPress.com parent company Automattic and Federated Media to sell advertising on WordPress.com sites in the U.S. and share that revenue with site owners. It's still unclear how good the ads will be and what the traffic numbers will look like for participating blogs.

"Many of the sites that have applied are in the low thousands of visitors per month," Jon Burke, Automattic's ads lead, wrote in an email. "We anticipate that as they begin to earn advertising revenues, some might be more dedicated to their blogs on a daily basis, and their traffic levels might rise."

Say acquired the tech-news blog ReadWriteWeb in December as part of its increased focus on building a network across various verticals of both owned and affiliated sites large enough to attract big-brand advertising. In a statement, Say President Troy Young said that the recent move to cut advertising services for small publishers was "an expected part" of the integration resulting from the acquisition of Six Apart, creator of TypePad and Movable Type.

"We want to ensure that our advertisers reach the right audience through our portfolio of best-in-class publishers and will remain proactive in curating this environment for brands," Mr. Young wrote.

Still, it seems that Say will make exceptions. Responding to a question about the changes from a TypePad user on the customer-service site Get Satisfaction, TypePad General Manager Jeff Reine wrote: "If you'd like to be considered for the new program but don't have the requisite impressions, please feel free to respond to that email and let them know you're a TypePad publisher. I'll make sure that they give our sites a break on traffic requirements :)"

For his part, the TypePad blogger who wrote on Get Satisfaction seemed more insulted by the short notice given to change ad providers than in losing access to TypePad ads. "[T]he ads aren't that great anyway," he wrote. "(like alcohol rehab services for a wine blog)."

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