6 with D6: Henry Copeland, Founder of BlogAds.com and the SUXORZ awards

Posted by | February 10th, 2011

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Social Media Week is here, and well, we’ve been keeping busy being social.  I recently got the chance to conduct a “6 with D6” Interview with Henry Copeland, founder of BlogAds.com and of the SUXORZ awards, an event that showcases the worst social media campaigns from the previous year.  
Henry Copeland
When Henry is not selling BlogAds, he says he’s “generally running or playing ping-pong with his kids, cooking with his wife, playing with his dogs, or reading.”   Some of the blogs that he frequently reads within the BlogAds network include ObscureStore.com, Wonkette.com, PerezHilton.com, ReadWriteWeb.com, DailyKos.com, and Drudge.com, although he claims this is more for “taking the cultural temperature than really consuming news.”  

We encourage you to sign up for SUXORZ, which takes place on Thursday, February 10th in NYC (where Definition 6’er Jon Accarrino will play “Social DJ”), or read more about how Henry got involved in social media.

6 with D6: Henry Copeland

1 – What changes do you anticipate taking place within the blogosphere in the next 3-5 years?

Since we got started in 2002, there's obviously been a giant proliferation of the number of blogs.  And there's also been a lot of professionalization.  But, as folks like Huffington Post disappear into the belly of the corporate beast, I think you'll see a resurgence of small and medium-size blogging, folks who are doing it because they love it, not because they want to cash out for $315 million. There are still lots of folks out there just finding their voice and lots of “unserved” publics.  In some cases, these will be people just doing it to scratch their own itch.  In some cases, these will be 'house blogs' by companies that are passionate about one topic or another.  And in some cases, these will be self-supporting bloggers.

2 –     Both BlogAds.com and you personally have been huge pioneers in the social media landscape.  With all the proliferation of devices like iPad and connected TVs, how much is social media device-driven?  Or is the behavior of sharing and consuming media evolving the device market?

{C}I'm tempted to say I'm not young enough to answer that question.  But I'll take a shot: I think blogs were perfect for PCs…everyone who works in an office or goes to school has one AND has 30 spare minutes a day to create or read content that is 50-500 words long. Now, mobile devices seem to inspire the production and consumption of more micro-content, tweets, check-ins, pokes, etc. 

3 –     If you could go back in time and edit your 2002 Pressflex essay that floated the idea of BlogAds, what would you change?

Ha, I would have been a little less cocky. :) I thought BlogAds was going to change the world OVERNIGHT. I didn't realize it would be two years before we'd sell more than $200 in ads in a single month.  But overall, I'm happy with the way those predictions about how “people-power-media” would explode and completely upend the media and advertising markets.  When you think of all the stuff that's come since then — whether it's YouTube or Twitter or Reddit or Quora or Facebook — we're still just beginning to guess all the fun things people can do for, or with, each other when you let them connect in real-time online.

4 – How can marketing agencies like Definition 6 use BlogAds to help our clients?

Two things.  First, we can let you really deliver your client's story across a wide spectrum of blogs.  Second, there's a lot of emphasis at agencies on using the commoditized ad units — the IAB units you can buy on every site on earth. We think it is very important to use the right unit to tell the client's story. Flashy 300x250s and 728x90s have their time and place, but there are times you want to channel what the community is saying about your brand in Twitter or let the community re-tweet your ad.  So when it comes to ad units, the medium can be the message — a conventional ad unit that was born in broadcast, often an IAB unit, most likely tells a conventional story that's rooted in the "we talk, you listen" mode of advertising. 

5 – What do you see as a game changer?

Yikes. I think we're still scratching the surface of organizing all the data and relationships that social media is encouraging us to generate. In a sense, we're in an arms race with ourselves, steadily producing more information, then scrambling to create containers/structures to help us keep track of that information, and then having to create structures that contain THOSE new structures.  We've got so many signals, we're creating news.  So at some point, I think we're going to hit a point where the majority of people say, "OK, I'm done, this is good enough for me. I don't need any more filing cabinets for my filing cabinets."  That could be two “Facebooks” from now, or it could be we're just about there right now. 

6 – Tell us more about the SUXORZ awards which are coming up this week. What has changed over the last few years?  What has improved? 

This will be the fourth year of the SUXORZ.  How time flies when you've got terrible social media advertising to laugh at, right?  Since the first couple of years, it appears companies have gotten better about not trying to pay consumers to shill for them.  Or companies have just figured out how to do it more covertly and not get caught.  Last year, the sins were more of omission rather than commission.  Companies implemented half a social media campaign — Tweets on a billboard! — but forgot to watch what people were tweeting and ended up with a lot of profanity beside their logos.  We're still sifting through nominations to figure out what the trends will be this year.  You can make nominations on our Facebook page.