Get More From What You Read

(Update: Offered UP is now called Snap Scout.)

offered up helps publishers by giving more for less.

Banner blindness, we all suffer from it. It’s when we visit a website and consciously or subconsciously ignore the banner ads. Why should we pay attention to them anyways? The ads aren’t always relevant to what we came to the site for and they often rudely interrupt us while we’re reading. So, what now?

The publisher’s challenge is to not only make the content relevant but to make everything on that page make sense, including ads. Back in the newspaper days, it was a package deal and editors and designers worked to lay out the content and images so that the publication as a whole was pleasing to the eye. But those practices didn’t translate well online, making content websites look like tacky Christmas trees.

The stories got shorter and the ads got bigger, and we got turned off. And so we waited. We waited to see what other options were out there. We waited to see who would bring us new tools that could make our readers’ experience more enjoyable without giving up our main revenue source.

That’s the challenge here, and one company, Seattle startup, TalktUP LLC, is giving it a shot.
When TalkedUp was started it was dedicated to “talking up” the connection between businesses and customers, where customers got rewards for sharing information about the businesses they liked. This year they took that concept a step further. Their first official product is called Offered UP (OUP), which involves the customers, businesses, and publishers, which should excite the news industry.

HERO_Spa_01
Look for the “More” button on Seattleite.com stories

Seattleite was one of the first publishers to test drive Offered UP almost a year ago. In addition to the Facebook Like and Tweet buttons on our posts, you may have noticed the additional “More” button. When the “More” button appears that means somewhere out there on the worldwide web there is a discount or offer that is relevant to the content you are reading on that page. And if there isn’t, well, then you won’t see the “More” button.

The “More” button on our story about special wine events for Valentine’s Day offered discounts on wine purchases and local winery tours and tastings. When we wrote about the Le Faux celebrity impersonators show at Julia’s Restaurant on Broadway, the “More” button offered a $20 for $30 coupon via Yelp.com. That saved Seattleite, Yelp, and Julia’s time and money that would have been spent on seeking out advertising opportunities to match available editorial.

While companies like Groupon and Yelp leveraged social media to connect audiences to products and places (while taking their cut), content publishers like newspapers and blogs struggled to get a piece of that pie. Text link ads used in our content were our closest options but were just as tacky, and even sleazy. Now, Offered UP is inviting publishers to play with the good guys.

The “More” button doesn’t distract or redirect readers away from content on their page. The drop-down listing of promotions is only revealed when readers hover over the OUP button. So publishers don’t have to deal with advertisements taking up page space. With OUP, landing on a deal or advertisement is meant to happen organically, relieving a lot of the stress on writers to write for SEO (search engine optimization).

TalktUP co-founder, Aaron Goodin says he was inspired to create OUP as a solution for the brands that are struggling to be engaging in the online world, the readers who are tired of irrelevant promotions, and the publishers who are moving away from poorly performing banner ads.

Once installed, OUP instantly matches deals and promotions from Groupon, Yelp, and more to the editorial content on their site by pairing deals in the OUP database with brand hyperlinks within an article. Each time a reader clicks through to a deal, the publisher gets paid.

OUP is now developing a publisher and advertiser dashboard that will track revenue performance, and house comprehensive reporting tools on performance and reader interaction with the OUP button; the dashboard will be available to publishers and advertisers in coming months. The company says additional features – such as reviews, maps, show times and ticket sales for movies and concerts, and several social capabilities – are under development, for the OUP “More” button.

For more information, visit snapskout.com and tell them Seattleite sent you!