The good news before we start is that hopefully the worst of the US recession is over for us ad wise on the site. We’re still not doing anywhere near the fill or CPM rates we were getting in the last quarter of last year, but through a combination of improved traffic, improvements from our main ad provider, and a strong secondary set of ad providers we’ve leveled out a bit. Still no Caribbean holiday for me, but likewise I’m not having a heart attack at the end of each month (no, that comes when I try to pull money out and find the AUD has gone from 60c to 80c USD 🙂 )
We’ve floated in the 2-3m page view range now since earlier in the year, and although we were down slightly in June (2.55m from 2.7 May) we’re comfortable now…which means it’s time to push to the next level.
We’ve expanded our writing team to 4 (5 if you include me) with the addition of Paul Montgomery as our first dedicated sports writer.
Australian readers will know Monty through his previous startup Tinfinger and his leading Australian Rules Football site FanFooty. Paul is a journalist by trade, but I ignored that when I offered him the spot 🙂
Paul will be covering the full gauntlet of international sport with a touch of Australian sport (cricket specifically.)
Sport feed/ category
With Paul on board we’ve broken out sport into its own stand alone category + feed. If you’re subscribed to the News + Sport feed you’ll no longer see sport stories. The Media feed is still available if you’re subscribed, but media has been rolled into news.
We’ve signed a deal with London based celebrity content provider BANG showbiz. Under the deal, we’ll be running up to 10 of their items a day (usually less, but that’s our cap). This will primarily come on top of our existing coverage. The initial deal is for three months with a review at the end. Sort of AP for celeb stories if you like. We’ve never tried syndicated content before, but you never know if you don’t try…or something like that. Because the content comes out of London, you’ll see most of it late night/ early morning US time, or occasionally late afternoon (ie, my morning.)
We’ve also signed up with GumGum, an ad support licensed celebrity picture service. GumGum provides images to b5media and a range of leading celebrity sites so we thought we’d give them a go. I can’t see us using them on every post, but certainly the next time we cover a big opening or similar we’ll have a ready supply of pictures to include in each post, where as today we are mostly limited to single pictures due to copyright law.