Ahh, dear reader, a question: would you love TrueHoop just as much if it had some sponsorship?
Here's the deal: TrueHoop has never had any advertising. (The only revenue it has ever generated was enough to buy one nice book through the Powell's Books affiliate program. And I'm done with that book already.)
But we get offers all the time. Thus far, we have turned them all down. It's not that we're opposed to the idea. It's that this was conceived as both a labor of love, and the "show pony" for our blogging agency. We have always wanted it to look pretty, and it seemed like we would have to really (in the words of one friend) "spam it up!" to make any kind of money at all. At the numbers we were hearing six months ago, "spamming it up" hardly seemed worth it.
But as the traffic and praise grows, so do the opportunities. Now we're feeling readier than ever, especially if someone out there is willing to make this simple by becoming the classy, exclusive title sponsor--as in "TrueHoop, brought to you by..."
No matter what happens, pop-ups and big flashing porn will not be in cards.
So, let me know what you think about ads on TrueHoop.
Then, once you get done with that--get right on to brainstorming which top-shelf advertiser out there you'd like to steer TrueHoop's way.
Seems to me it's a solid little audience TrueHoop has going. Could be good for the right organization. Some facts and figures to share with your primo contacts:
Jamie Mottram of AOL's Sports Bloggers Live called TrueHoop "the finest NBA blog." Chad Ford of ESPN says it's "the best I've seen." Sports Illustrated's Kelly Dwyer says he frequents and "enjoys the hell out of" TrueHoop. More praise.
There are so many different ways to slice and dice these babies, and if you're serious about sponsoring I'm happy to share them with you. My favorite one is that significantly more than 100,000 people have visited ten times or more in the last year. I think of those people kind of like subscribers.
Surveys of other blogs consistently find that blog readers are predominantly affluent, college-educated, technologically savvy, and male. We are open to surveying TrueHoop's readers to find out their specifics. Anecdotally, however, we have heard that TrueHoop's readers include NBA insiders ranging from the owner of the Denver Nuggets, Stan Kroenke, to Paul Pierce of the Boston Celtics. We have first hand knowledge of coaches, financial advisers, trainers, agents, team personnel, and NBA journalists reading. If you are selling the kinds of things those people might like (satellite radio, consumer electronics, financial services all seem to make sense--ads for jump higher gear and sneakers are probably wasted on that crowd) I don't know of a better, more targeted way to reach them.
Everyone knows blogs are the hot thing in advertising these days--blog readership is doubling every six months and has been for a while. Blogs have super advantages with search engines and all that. How can you measure a blog's place in the blogosphere? Here's one way: Bloggers read by RSS, so the number of RSS subscribers is a smart metric to determine how popular a blog is among other bloggers. There's no real way to know how many total RSS subscribers any given site has. However, one popular RSS reader, Bloglines, publishes the number of subscribers to different blogs. I expect that's a fraction of total RSS subscribers, but it's a measure of... something. Consider these numbers, as of early May 2006:
The sports section of the Chicago Sun-Times has 28 Bloglines subscribers.
Deadspin, the most popular sports blog in the world by most measures, has 159 Bloglines subscribers.
SI.com's RSS feed has 339 Bloglines subscribers.
ESPN.com's NBA feed has 607 Bloglines subscribers.
The New York Times Sunday Magazine has 1,163 Bloglines subscribers.
TrueHoop has 2,579 Bloglines subscribers.
IMPORTANT UPDATE to those numbers: A friend of mine, who also uses Bloglines, says Bloglines tells him TrueHoop has 51 subscribers. "That's impossible," I thought to myself. "I have watched that number grow and grow all year." But it was worrisome. Then it struck me. I had been fooled. All of these numbers are for the RSS feeds I happen to subscribe to. But probably every one of these sites has more than one format of feed. I believe the numbers above are accurate as far as they go, but suffice it to say that we're only looking at a small part of the picture.
TrueHoop has been linked to by some heavy hitting websites:
So what's next?
By all means get in touch. The simplest way is to e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. During East Coast business hours you can always call 908-237-1222.