Indiana Jones: Meet me at Omar’s. Be ready for me. I’m going after that truck.
Indiana Jones: I don’t know, I’m making this up as I go.
I’ve made up my mind to try auctioning local ads here on LoGroNo. But those pesky details! Here’s my current thinking… and questions.
- Limited number of advertisers; limited placements
An auction model requires some element of scarcity to the item(s) being auctioned. So my thought is only accept X number of advertisers for a given banner placement. I’ve currently got three areas: upper left sidebar (vertical shape), upper right sidebar (large square), middle right sidebar (4 small squares).
This will hopefully prevent some visual clutter, as there won’t be ads scattered all over the site nor having one long sidebar filled with them.
I thought I’d start by having up to 4 advertisers in rotation for each of the two large banners, and up to 8 advertisers for the four small banners.
I’m not sure if the time-blocks should be a week, two weeks, or a month but I’m leaning towards a two-week period.
- Winner bidders pay the same rate, the lowest of the winning bids
In order to make it be/feel fair, the winner bidders for a given banner ad should all pay the same rate. Therefore, when the bidding ends, and the highest bids are determined, everyone would pay the LOWEST bid of the winning group. For example, if Business A was the highest bidder at $50, Business B was 2nd highest at $40, Business C was 3rd highest at $35, and Business D was the 4th highest at $25, then everyone would pay $25.
In order to prevent a bidder from thwarting subsequent bids by bidding a high amount in hopes of then locking in the low amount of the 4th highest bid (example above), there would likely have to be a maximum increment requirement, eg, you can only raise the bid by $10 or less.
- Auction conducted in a community, social-oriented atmosphere
I was planning to use eBay while experimenting with this model but then it occurred to me that it might be more fun and in keeping with the community-oriented spirit of LG to conduct the auctions right here in a blog post.
Maybe I’ve been spoiled by Ed Kuhlman because all his fundraiser auctions I’ve been to in the past five years have been such fun. Why not try to have a little of that here? Here’s how it might work.
I create three blog posts for each ad banner auction. (Maybe I do them all at once or maybe it’s better to space them out over several days.) Bidders attach comments with their bid amounts. (Each comment is automatically time/date-stamped and can’t be edited.) Just like a live auction, conversation is allowed. Comments by non-bidders are allowed. Everyone can join in the fun.
It might be a little more controlled if bidders were given WordPress accounts so that we could verify them ahead of time. I’d like all bidders to have a Gravatar, too.
So let’s discuss both the rationale of this approach as well as the pros and cons of the implementation plan. I’d particularly like to hear from potential advertisers, of course, but the discussion’s open to everyone. I’d appreciate it.