Snap Ads Let Blog Authors Drive the Conversation

Bill Gross, founder of — and the paid search advertising model — in 1990s, is at it again. Last year he launched Snap, a new search engine, to compete directly with search titans Google, Yahoo and MSN. I’m hardly qualified to comment on the product itself, but I really like the lets-do-this-together approach he’s taking to marketing it.

Last month, Snap announced their launch with blog-to-win contest: Help us make (and bring to market) a better search engine. IAB-standard ad units invite internet users to submit suggestions, and visitors to the Snap blog vote for their favorite ideas. People who submit the best ideas (based on votes) will win money. Pretty standard so far.

Snap also opened the contest to search experts and bloggers, including FM authors John Battelle (Searchblog), Philipp Lenssen (Google Blogoscoped) and others. For blog authors who submitted an idea, Snap ran an additional ad unit on that author’s site, “Come vote for MY

idea.” Nothing fancy about either creative unit, but the personalized version taps directly into to affinity leading bloggers have with their readers. In a Q4 2005 reader survey, 60% of Searchblog readers say they read the site once a day or multiple times a day. For readers of Google Blogoscoped, TechCrunch and STREETtech, it’s 71%, 71% and 76%, respectively, who are reading that often. (Disclosure: John Battelle is also CEO of FM and my boss.)

Odds are way better, then, that Google Blogoscoped junkies will click over to the Snap contest blog to read commentary from the site’s author, Philipp Lenssen (here it is, link), than to read even the most poetically-worded sales pitch from Snap’s marketing team.

In fact, several of Philipp’s readers went to read his advice to Snap and then came back to Google Blogoscoped to tell him what he got wrong. Now, as a direct result of their advertising campaign — yet in a wholly organic, transparent manner — Snap has launched a conversation about its new service (here) on the 26th most influential blog online, the 2nd most influential blog dedicated to search after the Official Google Blog (see Technorati Top 100).

The product marketing gang at Snap may (or may not) want to modify their UI based on feedback from Google Blogoscoped readers. But their marcom colleagues were thrilled with how much time the mavens of Internet search are dedicating to a discussion of Snap.

“Sparking conversations among the influencers and getting people to search on were our two goals, and the Snap blog provided a great medium for both actions,” says Snap marketing director, Tad Benson. “The fact that those influencers brought the conversation back to their own sites via their interest and the contest ad units was an added bonus.”

  1. # Jason Fields said: June 6th, 2006 at 10:03 pm

    Chas, Nice wordpress theme! ;)

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