I've had it with AdAge.com. Don't get me wrong - they've got great content and are always exploring trends and issues in the advertising and marketing world in the way that few other publications can or do.
But for all of the space they give to digital marketing, it's clear that they just don't get it. I suppose I can't fault them; they're a publisher that, like every other publisher these days, is concerned about revenue. But as they try to protect their position and demonstrate effectiveness to their supporters, I think AdAge is missing the bigger picture.
And just to show that I'm not using my blog to mount a snarky complaint, I'll offer some free constructive criticism in this note to AdAge:
Dear Advertising Age,
You've been the mainstay of the advertising and marketing industry for a long time - nearly 80 years, in fact. Crain Communications (which interestingly is headquartered near my new home base in Michigan) has a vast empire of publications that are respected across the globe.
But you need to loosen the reins on AdAge. Here are three ways you could make it a little more tolerable.
You employ RSS feeds on your web site - bravo! But you know what? I don't find them of much use because the feeds are only partial; if I want to read the full article, I'm forced to click through to your site. Yes, I realize that this is because you want me to pay attention to all of the banner ads and interruptions you place in my way while I'm there.
But you know what? As someone who is savvy enough to use RSS feeds, I'm also savvy enough to ignore your annoying advertising - or even better - I employ a Firefox add-on that blocks them. If you just give me the option to consume your content the way I want, I guarantee I'll be a more interested / loyal reader.
I found a pulled TV commercial that I wanted to see on your site - just a short 30-second spot, nothing more. But before I could watch it, you forced me to watch a 15-second spot about some advertiser of yours (I can't remember who) that was pitching targeted video ads. I, someone who despises pre-roll advertising, was being targeted with a pre-roll ad about targeted video. Are you getting the irony here?
Lose the video advertising. It shows a lack of respect for your readers.
Secondly, your sharing features suck. I can grab a link or send someone an email (presumably of the link), but I can't embed your video. Which is incredibly short-sighted on your part, especially since you'd think your pre-roll advertisers would want to be seen elsewhere! Give me a chance to share your content with other people who might be interested.
Finally, this is more of a personal suggestion. If you really cared about the digital space, you'd embrace that list of the Power 150 marketing bloggers that you acquired from Todd Andrlik. A good way to start is to give the top 150 bloggers a free subscription to Advertising Age. You've already got your badge sitting on most of their blogs - free advertising - why not show us that you appreciate our service to your publication by giving us a free subscription? It's not that difficult.
It's 2008, people - get with the program. If we've learned anything, it's that you'll have more to gain by giving something away. AdAge stands stuck in the era that is more concerned with the control of its content, and as a result is stingy with its willingness to let content be free.
And it's evident from every page I see on your site, where the top links above the article are "print" "buy reprints" and "email," that you're not as concerned with current techniques. These functions are important, no doubt, but they're as antiquated as pop-up ads. Oh, and your registration process for commenting on a blog post is laughable.
AdAge, please do us all a favor and open up a little. You might find us more willing to open up to you.
Photo credit: Simon Davison