I work for a medium-sized advertising agency called Red Square. Like many of my projects, Advertisers started as an experiment. We have an internal Facebook group where we share and discuss cool creative concepts. Advertisers is a place where people in the industry can find interesting links and share their awesome work.
My initial thought was to build a news board for fantasy sports. There are close to 150,000 subscribers to fantasy sub-reddits. There are also countless other old-school forums out there that haven’t been updated in a decade. Unfortunately, I think the number people I could get to participate in a fantasy sports news board is fairly limited.
Considering I work in advertising, I thought that might be a better focus. I could coax people at work to give it a shot. Plus, there’s easy distribution channels. There are a dozen advertising clubs with member email lists are available.
I thought another easy win would be building out an advertising agency directory. There isn’t a huge amount of competition for search terms. Additionally, I figured the agencies that I linked to would see backlinks and visit the site to see where the traffic was coming from.
So far it looks like this concept has backfired. I’ve received dozens of emails from SEO agencies and none from legitimate creative agencies—the kind I had hoped would ask to be listed.
I was originally planning to build out a separate template for individual cities and individual agencies, but couldn’t find the time to get that done. Instead these are just linked from generic page templates. It doesn’t look like finishing this directory is going to be a productive use of my time, so that features is on ice right now.
There were a lot of technical considerations I had going into the project. Lists of lists tend to be good Rails projects, but I was limited on time. I discovered a WordPress-based Hacker News theme called Upvote. My initial thought dismissed WordPress, but the more I thought about it, the more I thought it made sense. Posts and comments were already built into the CMS.
Advertisers has a lot of room for improvement both as a platform and community. However, with more than 200 registered users it’s been a pretty successful experiment thus far.