I don’t often write for MyFootballWriter these days.
The site that I launched way back in 2006 has long since passed on to Gary and his own stable of great writers. They don’t need me anymore.
And, besides, I barely get to see a City game these days. I’d end up talking out of my proverbial.
Life has, instead, led me on a number of different paths – even if, I guess, I remain the official ‘Publisher’ of MFW with Gary now its esteemed ‘Editor in Chief’.
What follows was, originally, an email update intended only for our writers, but then I figured why not share it with our wider community?
Those that help make MyFootballWriter what it is today.
It’s basically a commercial update. Why we’re doing what we’re doing ads-wise and news about the launch of a free MyFootballWriter app in the next couple of weeks.
As some of you might be aware, there is a global crisis afoot in the online advertising space.
It’s where my interests and energies now lie – trying to mop up the mess Google made of local advertising via our own little ad tech start-up, Addiply.
It was born out of our frustration at earning a mere $140 off 400,000 page impressions in the spring of 2007. Since then I have travelled to most corners of the globe pointing out the fact that no publisher – large or small – can live off such meagre returns.
Just ask The Guardian. Or Archant and the Evening News.
We have to wholly re-imagine the way that online advertising is delivered and paid for. Via a simple mechanism that doesn’t benefit the great tech platforms and their Wall Street financiers – and no-one else.
If we don’t, we will all disappear.
For over the 11 years that MFW has now been running, the online advertising industry has got ever more complex, ever more costly to run and install and ever more easy for certain bad actors to infect the system.
Be it vast ‘bot’ farms racking up billions of fraudulent ad impressions to the so-called ‘dark ads’ that aimed to swing the result of both Brexit and the US presidential election, it’s all a s**t-show of global proportions.
Which is why – with the help of Stuart and the team at BrandEx Insight here in the city – we’re gently starting again.
Offering local advertisers a simple route to a passionate and authentic local audience here on MyFootballWriter.
One that doesn’t involve their ad having to go via California and back to get on MFW – be it via Mountain View and Google or Menlo Park and Facebook.
The fact that Norwich Cathedral became our first paying advertiser the other week was somehow wholly fitting – a divine intervention into a world crying out for a cleaner, simpler and safer approach to online marketing.
The more eagle-eyed of you may have noticed the appearance of two more, local advertisers in the last week – The Benjamin Foundation and Nelson’s Journey, both of whom have accepted our offer of free advertising to local charities.
In large part, it reflects our desire to put something back into the community we serve; equally, however, it follows the dictum set down in 2012 by a very interesting woman called Cindy Gallop.
In talking about the need for the advertising world to ‘re-invent itself from the core’. she insisted – rightly – that the need now was for “advertising for good, not good advertising.”
We want MFW to be a force for good, locally.
Not just be offering free visibility to local charities, but by enabling local small businesses to market their wares simply and safely to a local audience – be a ‘force for good’ for them, commercially.
Next year and the European Union brings in something called GDPR – the legislation designed to stop people profiting off your individual data; the browsing history that allows adverts to follow you around the web. Without your blessing or consent.
That all ends next May. From now on you will have to give your explicit consent to be tracked in this manner.
I will make you all a promise now. Neither MyFootballWriter nor Addiply will ever trade your data with anyone. With or without your consent.
We’re simply not that smart.
What happens on MyFootballWriter stays on MyFootballWriter.
As it will on our new, free mobile app when it launches in the next couple of weeks.
In part it is designed to make your lives ever more easy in terms of accessing the daily articles and the comments on the go; on your mobile.
But we also have our own thinking and almost-built technology waiting to be installed that will again enable local businesses here in Norwich and Norfolk to place an interactive ‘Message’ simply and safely in front of a specific local audience – only now in a mobile setting.
It is thinking that I took to an advertising technology show in Tokyo back in 2013 after winning funding from both InnovateUK and a Japanese angel investor a year earlier – only for life to put its launch on hold.
That may now all change as we keep pushing forward; keep seeing what might be possible in terms of delivering a new, mobile marketing opportunity for small businesses across the city while always being mindful not to disrupt your reading experience with an overly invasive or irrelevant mobile ad.
It’s a balance we will need to strike. As and when it happens, we will need your thoughts and feedback.
But that’s for the future.
For now, you have a certain sense of where we hope MFW is head, what the new raft of advertisers mean in a global context and what we might be able to offer marketing-wise to any small business owner or their marketing agency out there and reading this.
Give us a shout if we can be of help. Always up for a chat and a coffee…