With the off weekend for the Hokies, it’s a good time to talk about an
important issue on TechSideline.com, one where we need to make you aware of what
we’re up to, and where we need your help: the state of advertising on
TechSideline.com. Wait! Don’t click over somewhere else! This is
important. In this brief article, we’ll cover the types of ads you see on the
site, our types of advertisers, what to pay attention to, and how you can help
us. PLEASE read.
We’ve asked for help over the years from you, our readers, in impressing and
supporting our advertisers and sponsors, and you’ve been very generous. How we
handle advertising and sponsorships has changed over the years, though, so we
wanted to bring you up to speed on what’s new and current, and how you can help.
How We Used to Do It: A few years ago, we had a good list of sponsors on
the site, about 10-12 companies that we promoted heavily and that got great
feedback from you. Remember Advance Auto Parts, Shenandoah Spring Water,
Hilldrup Moving and Storage, Village Realty of the Outer Banks, and others? We
asked you to let them know that you were supporting them because you saw them on
TSL, and you did it. That worked out great, for a while.
What Happened Since Then: In the last couple of years, we lost our way on
the advertising front and de-emphasized smaller local sponsors in favor of
larger national brands. As we quit cultivating local/regional sponsors, they
gradually fell off the site. We replaced them with a small handful of national
advertisers — remember Lowe’s, Allstate, and TicketCity.com?
Third-Party Ads: We also started filling in with “third-party”
ads. Third-party ads are sold by ad networks like Tribal Fusion, Burst, and
AdFlex. Those companies sign advertisers to big contracts, then distribute the
ads across a large number of sites.
The ads TSL receives from third-party ad networks aren’t necessarily targeted
to our Hokie audience, and we tend to get a lot of ads that are, well,
unacceptable. You’ve seen those ads: the fat-burner ads, the Evony online ads,
and the ads with food stuck in someone’s braces. Gross. And how about those
Subaru Outback ads that caused fake mud splotches to appear on your computer
screen? We didn’t sell those ads, and we don’t like seeing those ads delivered
to our readers. They all come from the third-party ad networks we use.
For the last few months, what you have seen on our site are mostly
third-party ads. They have created some trouble, and are not good for the site
overall, but they do generate important revenue for us, and we thank you for
putting up with them.
What We’re Doing Now: Our future is our past: we want to attract
local/regional advertisers that want to cater specifically to Hokie fans. In the
last couple of months, we have started looking for those types of sponsors and
advertisers again, and have started signing them up to be on the site. They are
divided up into two groups – sponsors and MarketPlace advertisers.
- Sponsors: These advertisers are generally larger and more regional in
nature, or are Internet-based. They can be found on our Sponsors
Page, which is linked from the “Our Sponsors” menu item near the
top of every page. Sponsors have larger advertising campaigns with us that get
them high exposure with banner ads, TSLMail, and message board posts.
- MarketPlace Advertisers: These advertisers are usually smaller
businesses that are more local in nature. They are listed on our MarketPlace
Page, which is linked on nearly every page of the site with a button that
says “TSL MarketPlace – Please welcome and support these local
- Third-Party Ads: Yes, we’re still running third-party ads. As time goes
on, we hope to eliminate these ads and replace them with sponsors and
What You Can Do to Help: This part is simple. All advertising and
sponsorship revenue is critical to us (even the third-party stuff), so here are
your marching orders, if you want to help out TSL (and we hope you do!):
- Notice the Ads! Please pay attention to the banner, skyscraper, box
and text ads that run throughout our site. If they interest you, click on
- Know Our Sponsors and MarketPlace Advertisers: A lot of those ads you’ll
see on our site are third-party ads. It doesn’t really matter if you act on
those — feel free to do so if you’re interested. But please keep an eye on our
Sponsor Page and MarketPlace Page, and be able to tell our sponsors and
advertisers — those businesses dedicated to being on our site — apart from
third-party ads that we receive from an external network.
- Support Our Sponsors and MarketPlace Advertisers: When you’re in the
market for goods or services offered by our sponsors and MarketPlace
advertisers, please give them a shot at your business, and let them know you saw
them on TechSideline.com! Even if you’re not in the market for what our sponsors
and advertisers offer, let them know you saw them on our site. Drop them an
email or tell them in person.
As we shift away from third party ads and back towards local/regional
businesses that want to cater to Hokie fans like you, your support is critical.
Attracting sponsors and advertisers to our site is a huge part of our business,
and a huge part of keeping TechSideline.com alive and improving the site. Please
Thanks, folks! We now resume your regularly scheduled web site …
If you’re interested being a TechSideline.com sponsor
or MarketPlace advertiser:
Please contact Trey Copeland of Captive Media Services. Trey is
our sales rep for TSL advertising and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Trey knows our business inside and out and can put together a great advertising
package for you.