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APW + Say Media!


APW + Say Media! | A Practical Wedding

Back in December, I was sitting at the kitchen table while David was making dinner, and I asked (somewhat out of the blue, as I do), “Who do you think I know who knows someone at Say Media?” I explained that Jane Pratt‘s new site xoJane (unexpected Sassy reference… or it was unexpected until this morning’s Tablet Mag article?) was run by a company called Say Media. Say is a digital media company who also does creative ad work for blogs. The company was created by a merger with Six Apart (the creators of TypePad, one of the earliest blogging tools). Long story short, I was fascinated by the idea of a media company that would be down with Jane Pratt‘s mix of sassy feminist controversy.

A week later, I got an email from Alt Summit that I was going to be on a panel with Sarah of Say Media. Two days later I got an email from Sarah saying she’d read APW while planning her wedding and loved the site.

The universe can be obvious sometimes.

But let me back up. Growing a business, or more specifically, growing a business ethically, is tough. It’s so complicated that it deserves its own post (soon!). APW has grown in the last six months in ways that feel either awesome or terrifying, depending on the day. And the funny thing is, a growing business costs more to run. Everything from server costs to staff costs goes up as a business grows.

So! Over the course of the past year, it’s become clear to me that it would be best for the business for APW to partner with an ad network. But I was picky. I refused to partner with anyone who saw us as “a wedding blog” and wanted to sell you a bunch of wedding stuff you didn’t need. No. I also wanted to partner with people I liked, people that I felt would really listen to me, and people who respected what APW is all about. (I have high standards.) And after I met Sarah (and liked her) and had a long talk with her about Say Media (they got me), I decided APW and Say Media were a match. Hurrah!

So, I’m thrilled to announce, that starting tomorrow, you will start seeing Say Media ads on the site. It will work like this:

  • There will be one ad that shows up on the main page between posts. Another ad will show up between the post and the comments. This means that you’ll only ever see one ad at a time, and it will never be in a place that will interfere with your reading.
  • Say Media takes ads from Fortune 500 companies (aka, no belly fat or teeth whitening or who-knows-what ads), and the company produces all ads in-house. This means there is serious quality control over what you see. You’ll never see a wedding ad (unless I decide to approve one), and we have the ability to pull any ad that seems problematic.
  • If you’re interested in a brand that is advertising on the site, you can go into the ad (which keeps you right on the APW page) and get more information. And these are some seriously well-designed ads. I went into a Westin Hawaii ad on XOJane, and they had produced four different videos about the different islands of Hawaii. I didn’t have time to watch them all. (I’ve never been to Hawaii and I’m interested.) When I went back, the ad was gone, and I was annoyed. I’ve never been annoyed to miss out on an ad before, so this seemed like a very good sign. And while we’re not paid per click, interacting with ads you’re interested in does indirectly help support APW. So if you’re into an ad, give it a go.
  • That said, if you’re not into an ad, that’s cool too. You’ll be supporting the site just by reading now, which is pretty great.

And because a lot of you are invested in APW and how it’s run, I wanted to let you know exactly what we’re doing with ad revenue. All money we make on Say Media ads is going into a business savings account. We’re saving for new, non-wedding projects that you guys really want (that cost money!). I’m so thrilled to be able to partnter with Say Media to help make big dreams happen.

So, welcome Say Media! Now, on with the show.

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  • http://threlkelded.net Emily

    I’m so glad so much thought went into the process! Not that I’m surprised, of course.

  • http://www.3upadventures.com Beth

    New non-wedding projects!!! Exciting stuff Meg!

    • meg

      Slowly, slowly! I have to save money, but this is one of the building blocks in the plan, and I’m so happy about it.

      • http://www.3upadventures.com Beth

        Slowly doesn’t change the fact it’s exciting. In fact, the fact that it’s slow is even more reason for me to remind you it’s exciting. :-)

  • Alyssa

    I’m loving this idea (hello, non-wedding-type projects!) and now I’m really curious to see the ads!

    Also, selfishly, I am pissed this didn’t happen sooner; I could pretend I was THIS much closer to realizing my (impossible) teenage dream of being in Sassy. (I MISS YOU, SASSY!)

    • meg

      Look at xoJane! The ads will be about the same, but not on the sidebar (that bothers me when I’m reading long form text NEW YORK TIMES. I mean. Cough. I’m actually super grateful to do anything I can to support the New York Times, but I do cover up the sidebar with my hand when I read, because I’m dyslexic, and… yeah.)

  • http://notsolittlethings.blogspot.com Stephanie

    Yay! I know a bunch of folks that work at Say. If you run into Erin at one of their awesome events (she organizes them) tell her I said hi! :)

  • http://www.asafemooring.blogspot.com Kirsty {a safe mooring}

    I just want to say, after recent controversy over the ways in which women make a living from blogging and the criticism they sometimes receive from other women because of it, that I am so impressed with your approach to this, Meg. You are always open and 100% transparent about how APW revenues are earned and spent, and you are always honest with your readers, which is why we keep coming back. I’m really happy that you have found such a great fit for the site and that this ad revenue is going to be used to fund new, exciting projects. But if you wanted to use that money to fund new, exciting shoe purchases, I’d still be happy, because you have created something amazing and you’ve earned it. Bravo, Meg, and thank you for doing what you do.

    (Also, I’m kind of annoyed that we didn’t have Sassy magazine in Scotland. It sounds like it would have been right up my street.)

    • meg

      Sniffle. I love you. I love all of you guys. And I do want to buy shoes… or a dress. But seriously, while I have plans to get myself some new shoes one of these days, I’m not doing it with this money.

    • http://caitlindentino.com caitlindentino

      I was trying to “exactly” but to do techincal difficulties (on my end), exactly!!

    • http://www.soulwanderings.com/ one soul

      NAIL. ON. THE. HEAD.

  • Jessica

    Nice – I like how you explained this new ad structure. I also like when you post a link to my silly thank you email!!

  • kathleen

    this sounds like a super-smart, well-thought-out, take-it-to-the-next-level decision, and I so appreciate sharing your thought process with us.

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  • http://emiliajanephotography.com Emilia

    I am so excited to see what the future holds for this site Meg (and beyond of course for other projects :-)! So freaking excited. And I am so impressed with how you’re going about this! XXOO

  • http://www.lucyguest.com youlovelucy

    Filing this post under “reasons I will never stop reading APW.”

    Hooray for taking things to the next level! Imagine, new non-wedding projects! Good business practices! What’s next? Cats and dogs, living together?!

  • Liz

    I’ve always wondered, what if I only read APW in my google reader? Does that hurt your advertising revenue?

    • meg

      It does, yup :) Though, you still read sponsored post, so if you book someone through a sponsored post we’re more than even!

  • http://www.ktmade.com Katie

    Well, I’m super tickled about any new ventures, Meg. I am positive it will be something I’ve wished for since everything you create fits perfectly into some enormous and unfortunate void. And as others have said above, thank you for your transparency and honesty about the way the site is run. Not only does it benefit us as readers (since we appreciate it), but I know it benefits those who run ads on the site and choose to partner with APW because we find them more credible after getting the Meg seal of approval, which of course, comes back around to helping us since we don’t have to wade through a field of iffy vendors but can turn straight to these.

  • Class of 1980

    “And the funny thing is, a growing business costs more to run.”

    Uh. Hell YEAH it does! ;) Try running one that depends on inventory. That will learn you. Sometimes I think there should be a rule that you can’t run for office unless you ran a business. The young me would have thought that was stupid. The old me tells the young me to shut up. Ha.

  • http://www.soulwanderings.com/ one soul

    Well done, you! Go, APW!

    • http://www.soulwanderings.com/ one soul

      Also, having just nearly pissed myself laughing while reading, I am now officially obsessed with xoJane. Thanks!

  • http://thecelebrationgirl.com Marcela

    I am very happy that APW is growing and finding more and more like-minded sponsors and ads to keep this place going and growing. Congratulations, Meg!!!!

    Also…I didn’t know Sassy existed! I used to receive Seventeen in Argentina, and compared to what we got back home, that was advanced, ha!

  • http://www.jehara.blogspot.com soleil

    Yay!!!! APW, Sassy, and Jane!!! All the connections are just making me dizzy.

  • em_perk

    Yay for growing a business! And for doing it in transparent, ethical ways!

    Also…I live in Hawaii as of five months ago. It’s awesome. You should come! I have a spare room and a fancy blow-up mattress :-)

  • http://www.fearlessology.com Alejandra

    I’m really excited to see you posting about your process on the ad network side! I actually work in media planning in NYC and have secretly been imagining what you must be doing behind the scenes. Sometimes I find myself thinking, “I wonder if Meg needs a Media Planner?” :) As a media person myself, I totally love and respect that you’re going to be working with Say! I’m positive it will only open up the door for growth in your business, the APW community, and yourself. APW gave me life when I was in a dark place a while back, so I truly believe in the power of your work.

    You Go Meg!!! (…and virtual love to the APWers out there who understand advertising is not inherently evil ;)

  • Kayakgirl73

    Onward and upward for APW. Love the Sassy references, I was a charter subscriber, after another mag I had been getting, called Teenage I think, went defunct. Sassy was cool and different. I’ll have to check out XO Jane.

  • Peabody_Bites

    Hurrah for Meg! Excellent hauling up of star. And I love both the fact that additional ad revenues will go to fund new projects – and that you were so open about it. Bring on the “growing a business” series of posts….

  • Anon for this

    Okay, except I’m getting all kinds of wedding advertising on APW today. “Beach wedding dresses” “Light in the box: Top wedding dresses made to order”, etc., etc., etc. What’s up?

  • Kate

    First off, thanks for explaining; I appreciate the transparency. Are the ads drawing info about who we are from our browsers/IP addresses? Does APW review/support the advertisers? I was surprised to see a political ad from my home state, and in going to the website, I couldn’t tell who was funding it.

  • Carla

    This is me specifically turning off adblocking for those servers, specifically due to this post. Wewt.

  • Parsley

    So, today, we’re seeing GRE ads. How great is that! Weddings + Graducate School.