I haven't written an "AT on" post in awhile, and I thought it would be a good thing to start up again in order to speak up and create a regular opening for reader feedback. It also gotten busier and busier, so having a small forum like this makes it easier for me to stay in touch with everyone and discuss stuff that's coming up as we head into our 5th year (yikes!)....
Apartment Therapy is a Spring baby. Born in April of '04, we've been writing posts, experimenting with photos, links, galleries, video and audio since then and always tried to keep our ear to the ground to see if it's working. In fact we've spent most of our time thinking about blogging and not as much time thinking about revenue and advertising.
Since late last year, we've been spending more energy on working with advertisers and growing our revenue, so that we can hire a few people to work full time and make sure that we have a viable business supporting us all.
The way I look at it, we've been really good at writing posts and not really paying attention to selling ads. I want us to do better than this so that we can continue to host this free party every day.
I read all the threads last week about Sponsored Posts, really appreciate your feedback and understand the ruckus. We will signal sponsored posts clearly (even more clearly) in the future, but I don't want them to be ugly. We're working this week on a design specifically for these things so that they will both stand out from regular posts but look good on our page. And, again, we're not doing a ton of these things (one a week).
As we take our first real steps at selling ads and working with the push and pull of the ad market, have some patience with us, but definitely give us your feedback. Of course, we have to have ads, so PLEASE don't argue with that (we're not going to a subscription model), but, hey, if we're doing it well or poorly let us know.
The ads may even be really COOL.
We've just finished overseeing a short video with CB2 about DIY decoration that is going to have its "world premiere" on our sites this week. In every case, we're asking our advertisers to reach beyond simple product sell and make the sponsored posts useful and creative in some way. They've got tons of talented people at all these companies and I think unlocking their brain trust is good for everyone.
Thats enough for now. If you think we're still commercial ad bums, next week I'll tell you about going to State Supreme Court this past week to defend AT and our readers against a kitchen showroom that is suing us because we won't take their post down (it has negative comments on it). THAT was fun.