CNET Founder: Time To Kill The CPM


Shelby Bonnie has had it with CPM. The co-founder and former CEO of CNET has a post over at Techcrunch arguing that the online advertising industry’s fixation on impressions is bad for advertisers, agencies, and users. His complaints:

  • “You always get what you pay for.” Paying for impressions rather than actual sales generated means that publishers will focus on ways to drum up impressions, even if they don’t help sell anything. The results can be irritating for users.
  • “All impressions are not created equally.”
  • “There is no natural constraint.”  Newspapers only have so much space to sell. Television producers only have 24 hours a day to work with. Web publishers can increase impression inventory indefinitely.
  • “This is not a win for marketers.” As long as we remain focused on impressions, talented, creative marketers with ideas that really work won’t be rewarded.

Shelby argues that companies should pay for something more closely aligned with what they really want: engagement with the brand or sales, for instance. But while he’s convinced that CPM is a problem, he doesn’t claim to know exactly what the solution is. Instead, he wants to know what you think:

I certainly don’t have all the answers myself, but as a veteran of this space and someone who deeply cares about the medium, it is about time we all make a concerted effort to change our direction. I would love to hear your thoughts (shelbyb [at] whiskeymedia [dot] com).

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