Friday, January 23, 2009

Who is willing to pay for ads on WoW forums?

I declined to comment on Blizzard's decision to put ads on their official forums back in December. They drew the expected quantity of commentary and satire, but I didn't really see a tie-in with either players or developers in having out-of-game forums plastered with ads.

However, I did think that it would only be a matter of time before:
A) Some gold seller ad wound up on the official forums or
B) Even better, someone managed to get an ad on the official forums that used a javascript exploit to keylog people's WoW passwords.

My track record for things that I don't post publicly appears to be better than my track record on stuff that I actually post for people to read, cause today the official WoW forums had their first illicit gold seller ad.

The reason I was relatively sure this would happen is a simple question of demand. Who, exactly, wants adspace on WoW forums? Well, makers of competing games do - thanks to the miracle of tracking cookies, I get a lot of EQ2 ads on WoWhead. Presumably, whomever Blizzard is farming the ads out to knows better than to take that buy. So who else? Blogs? I like this blog, but I'm not spending that kind of money (read: ANY money) to promote it. Legitimate gaming news sites that are actually intended to turn a profit? They may actually have a promotional budget, but I can't imagine how that's an effective use of your ad dollars.

Basically the ONLY people who are left who really want to promote products specifically on the WoW forums are, well, gold sellers and other people attempting to sell directly WoW-related products. Because they are the folks who want the exposure the most, they'll be willing to pay the highest rates. Sooner or later, it is an absolute certainty that an ad that wasn't explicitly on the "do not approve" list will come across the desk of someone who isn't paying attention, and that's how we land in this situation.

Now that I'm posting this, I feel I need to amend my predictions to cover the other possibilities. What would really make the story of this senseless money grab complete would be:

C) Mark Jacobs taking out an ad on the official WoW forums that says "This is why official forums are a bad idea."


Herc said...

C) Mark Jacobs taking out an ad on the official WoW forums that says "This is why official forums are a bad idea."

Lol good one.

Ferenczys said...

To answer the basic question as to whom would like to advertise on WoW's forums:

Anyone interested in reaching some percent of 11 million players.

The products need not even be WoW related directly. I imagine Dell or any of its competitors wanting to show off their newest gaming setup, while groups like Time Warner could advertise higher Internet speeds. Or, could you imagine, some site to promote dating through WoW?

WoW has an absolutely HUGE player base, across a broad demographic range. That's prime Ad real-estate, if you ask me.