Is this working for Salon?

While waiting for the stuffit stuff (see below) I surf over to Salon and once again decide to read some premium content thanks to their Ultramercial. The thing I wonder is now that I have clicked through the required screens a few times to get what I want, what does Salon really get out of this. I suppose they charge a premium (pun intended) for the ads to Mercedes, but what does Mercedes get? I am no closer to buying a car and certainly not a Mercedes at this time. I just want to read the story, which I now can.

They basically are considering me as a pseudo qualified lead through a process, that requires nothing return from me, so they get nothing from the experience. I bet they already knew beforehand that people are willing to click through a few screens to get ad-supported content. Hmmm… seems like a test that is just being run all that scientifically.

If I were Salon, I would require a brief survey (couple of quick questions) to learn more about who wants to read my stuff. I would then use that information to target marketers who want access to my readership. I would require the Ultramercial be direct response in nature rather than simply a multi-stage ad. Seems silly to just have a commercial while reading. Granted you can look at greater detail on the car if you like, but you are not required to do anything more than move to the next screen. My guess is that the vast majority of people simply hit Next to get back into Salon. Think of TiVo as the same thing. If you have the option of fast forwarding across the commercials, you do. You generally are sitting on the couch or at your desk to watch or read something of your choosing, not to watch and play with ads.

Both Ultramercial and Salon are using the technology as a test, but it needs a lot of help in order to be considered a success by any standards. The simple metrics of number of viewers or sessions per day are going to be interesting, but are not going to help sell any cars.

On the flip side, I hope Salon can keep selling this stuff so I can keep reading…

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