Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

BuzzFeed’s Secret Plan to DESTROY Internet Ads Revealed! (By BuzzFeed.)

Everyone who covers the media business is required by law to write about BuzzFeed, Jonah Peretti’s shareriffic site.

But just about all of us end up writing about the stuff the start-up makes and not the stuff it sells — advertising.

So what exactly is BuzzFeed’s ad strategy? You can get a good sense of it by reading Felix Gillette’s smart Buzzfeed profile in Businessweek from last month.

The short version: It’s trying to avoid run-of-the-mill banner ads by selling “branded content” — stuff that looks like regular Buzzfeed posts, but is created specifically for a sponsor.

And if you like pictures more than words — which means you’re one of the many people Buzzfeed is hoping to attract — we can go that route, too.

Here’s a slide deck BuzzFeed president Jon Steinberg, a Google vet who came aboard a couple years ago, has been showing off. It tells prospective advertisers what the site did for Energerizer Holdings’ Schick brand last year.

Razorbombing Case Study

If this were the old days, someone might complain about blending “real” content with stuff made up for advertisers, but we’re long past that. Now the only question is: Does this stuff work?
Don’t know. The trick with selling advertisers on the notion of “viral” ads is that it’s tough to actually make stuff viral. Peretti and crew are better at it than most, but they can’t nail it every time, which means that for every “Razorbombing” there will be a bunch of duds, too.
Of course, good old fashioned shove-it-in-your-face ads have a mixed track record, too, both on and offline. So no harm — for now, at least — if Steinberg, Peretti and crew want to try something new.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik