Media

WordPress takes on Google’s AdSense with new WordAds service (update)

Popular content management system (CMS) company WordPress is launching a new word-based advertising service that will compete directly with Google’s AdSense, the company announced today.

WordPress, which is owned by Automattic, powers over 24 million blogs and runs on 15 percent of the world’s most trafficked sites. The company previously entered into an advertising partnership with Federated Media in October, but didn’t release many details. Now it seems that this new partnership has birthed a new ad platform called WordAds.

We still don’t know too much about WordAds, but I would expect it to function much like Google’s AdSense — meaning bloggers put hyper-linked word ads on their site based on the type of content they produce, and in return generate money based on page views and the number of times someone clicks through each ad. [Updated with more information about WordAds below]

“Over the years one of the most frequent requests on WordPress.com has been to allow bloggers to earn money from their blog through ads. We’ve resisted advertising so far because most of it we had seen wasn’t terribly tasteful, and it seemed like Google’s AdSense was the state-of-the-art, which was sad. You pour a lot of time and effort into your blog and you deserve better than AdSense,” wrote WordPress Ads Lead Jon Burke on the company’s main site.

Blogs hosted on WordPress.com — not to be confused with the free, open-source content management system on WordPress.org or the premium WordPress VIP service — are typically created and managed by people as a side job or hobby. The WordPress.com blogs are limited in what they can change on the site, meaning most third-party WordPress widgets and advertising solutions aren’t supported. And up until now, it also means it limits how much money a blog can bring i.

However, the WordAds platform has the potential to transform casual, part-time blogging into a source of revenue for many people using a site hosted by WordPress.com.

Update: We just spoke with WordPress Ads Lead Jon Burke, who was able to provide a bit more clarity about the new WordAds platform.

Contrary to its name, WordAds will mostly deal in display advertising (like banners, pictures and maybe some text) that’s very similar to what Federated Media offers some of its other clients, such as BoingBoing and VentureBeat. The types of ads will still depend greatly on what kind of content each blog produces.

“Up until now, we’ve always focused on the feature functionality and less on the monetization side for the bloggers,” Burke told VentureBeat. “We wanted to approach the ad side in a way that still allows bloggers to focus on editorial and marketing.”

Like AdSense, there will be set amount bloggers will reach before WordAds sends them a check. (For instance, with AdSense you must make $100 before Google sends you a check.) The company is currently taking signups for anyone who would like to participate in testing the new ad platform, which should launch in the first quarter of 2012, according to Burke.


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