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Political Ads Now 'Huge Revenue Opportunity' for Bloggers

Today's Wall St. Journal has an interesting article about the power of the blogosphere as a medium for political advertising. In the article, "Candidates Find A New Stump In the Blogosphere," author Amy Schatz notes that internet political ads are increasing sharply

With 18 candidates vying for the most open race for the White House in 80 years and front-runners on both sides announcing plans to forgo public financing, the 2008 election promises to be a huge revenue opportunity, not just for TV broadcasters....All told, online spending by candidates, political parties and third-party special-interest "soft money" groups, like Moveon.org, could hit $80 million during the 2008 cycle compared with $29 million in 2004, according to an estimate by PQ Media LLC, a Connecticut research firm.

The boom in ads for political blogs is proving to be lucrative for high traffic political websites, although TV still rules in terms of ad revenues, explains Schatz:

Internet ad spending is small compared with spending on traditional radio, broadcast and cable advertising. The best-read blogs still charge comparably little for ads. A standard-size weekly ad purchased through Blogads costs $2,900 on the progressive site DailyKos for example, or $250 at Hotair.com, a conservative video blog site. By comparison, a 30-second broadcast television spot could set back a candidate anywhere from $90,000 to $110,000 a week in a market like Des Moines, according to Evan Tracey of the TNS Media Intelligence's Campaign Media Analysis Group.

Campaigns know, however, that they are targeting a high number of opinion leaders and politically active net-surfers when they advertise on particular blogs.

The most popular political blogs reach a daily audience of just a few million readers, according to a study released last October by George Washington University's Institute for Politics, Democracy and the Internet. But they are more likely than the general public to actively participate in the political process. The study found that about 75% of daily political-blog readers are male, about 40% are between 35 to 54 years old and 42% reported an annual income of $100,000 or more.

So far bloggers' content has not been influenced by their advertisers, and Schatz cites examples of bloggers biting the hands that feed them. The article also discusses the internet ads of several presidential candidates, including John Edwards, Hillary Clinton and John McCain.