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Bright Hub: Is there any concern that the ads will be so engrained that people stop paying attention to them?
Jay Hallberg We watch that very closely for our advertisers. We've seen three things so far. First, brand-level messages can stay for a long time because they connect the brand with a product they love -- Spiceworks. It associates the brands in a positive way. Second, product-level messages need to be rotated after two to three weeks as their impact starts to decay. We tell our advertisers when it's time to change messages and we even advise them on what to change it to. Third, advertisers have to "think beyond the ad click." That is, we're creating all sorts of interesting ways for advertisers to interact with our community directly. For example, they're putting product experts in Spiceworks directly such that if I'm looking at the network I can connect to an engineer who can help me solve a problem or ask about a product I should buy. That's worth a lot more than an ad click as it will lead to a sale or long-term loyalty. They may have only clicked on that vendor's expert because of the ads they saw elsewhere in Spiceworks. It's a more holistic approach.
BH: Do you fear any backlash once the economy turns around? Will users see too many ads and say enough is enough?
JH: Whether you’re in a boom or bust economy, you must always ensure that ads never overpower the end user experience. They must never be too big or too intrusive. And they must always be relevant to what the user is doing in the application. We have always taken this approach and it’s paid off. Even though the economy is slowing, we’ve doubled the number of advertisers running campaigns in Spiceworks and doubled our user base during the same time period to over 500,000 users worldwide. I'm pretty certain that when the economy turns around not too many of our users will decide that they need to go spend $10,000 on IT software that doesn't work.
Spiceworks: Concerns of Ad-Supported SMB Applications
Spiceworks VP of Marketing and co-founder Jay Hallberg talks about the future of ad-supported applications.