Offbeat Home vs Offbeat Mama: traffic & ads

This month makes it official: Offbeat Home now has more traffic than Offbeat Mama! In the last 30 days, Offbeat Mama had 117,807 unique visitors, while Offbeat Home got 126,282. This is awesome, and finally matches what I'd always hoped for Offbeat Home: since it's genderless and ageless, it's potentially got a potential for a larger readership than Offbeat Mama.

If Offbeat Home having more readers than Offbeat Mama makes perfect sense to me, here's the mystery that I still can't figure out:

Last month, Offbeat Mama made $625 from direct-sold ads. ("Direct sold" means placement like sponsored posts or banners that were sold directly to advertisers, as opposed to the banner ads served up by Glam or Ad-Sense.) Offbeat Home, meanwhile, made a whopping $58.

In other words, despite the fact that Offbeat Home has a larger readership, and technically a wider range of products we could advertise… almost NO ONE is buying. We had an advertiser who initially wanted to try to sell shoes on Offbeat Mama, despite the fact that readers over there have repeatedly made it clear that they have almost NO budget for incidental purchases like fashion accessories. (The first comment on almost every single Offbeat Mama sponsored post is "TOO BAD I CAN'T AFFORD THIS.") Thankfully, the advertiser was down to switch the post over to Offbeat Home (where we love talking about fashion)… but it was just one more example of how poor Home simply hasn't been able to woo the advertisers.

Lots of schemes in the works to try to turn this particular boat around… oh, but by the way: ads on Offbeat Home start at only $19. Maybe you should buy one?

  1. I have a theory about the differences in ad spending. I think the Offbeat Brides are in a very unique stage of their lives. For the first and possibly last time ever they have a lump sum of money to spend on non-essential items. A lump sum of money to spend on a party — I mean, that's the ultimate in disposable income, right? You can see how budgets get blown as their treat themselves to a few extra baubles along the way, fall in love with the pricier item because it's extra purty, spend a little more on loved ones, etc. Additionally the whole super-consumer experience is propped by everyone around them. Vendor, family, friends — everyone around the Offbeat Bride is giving her signals that yes she should be spending this money.

    But the Offbeat Homie lives back in day-to-day reality and is much more careful with his or her dollar. I'm willing to bet the Offbeat Mama is the same way and neither one of them has society's permission ( so to speak ) to blow money. Plus either one of them might still be paying for that offbeat wedding…

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    • Oh, I *TOTALLY* understand why Offbeat Bride does better than Home or Mama. That's never been a question.

      The issue here is why the dramatic difference between Home and Mama.

      1 agrees
      • Oh you're right — I should have read the post more carefully! D'Oh!

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      • Do you think it has anything to do with the emotional response the other two sites generate? I have to say OBHome doesn't have the power to move me the way the other two sites do.

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      • perhaps its because a lot of the ads on Mama are baby/maternity related, and these offbeat mamas are buying awesome offbeat things for their babies or bellies (my baby/belly is growing, I need to get new clothes) vs. something to cool to put in your home.

        While offbeat mamas don't have as much disposable income, they do want/need to get things for the kiddos. Meanwhile, a lot of us can make do with a less than fantastic house.

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  2. I think advertisers are used to marketing towards women. The very thing you see as a plus (non-gender specific readership!) they are likely to see as a negative. Yeah it has more readers, but some of those readers are probably *men*. Men don't buy frivolous things. Why would we waste our ads on them? Also, how the hell do we play off the insecurities of an audience if we don't know their demographic. Brides are easy: buy this or you won't be pretty and your day won't be perfect. Mom's are easy: buy this or your children will suffer or you will be frumpy. But … just people? Any type of person? Who could be living under any circumstance and might actually have, you know, self confidence? What's an advertiser to do with that?

    I'm in a very cynical mood. Sorry.

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    • You know, it's not cynicism… it's just advertising. ;) That's how it works!

      Despite the fact that Home has a non-gender-focused appeal, the readership is still 95% women… something we make sure advertisers know.

      1 agrees
    • Hey I've been there! We've all had those cynical days and I've also read articles about how advertisers make assumptions about women that I'm not crazy about.

      But I'm sure advertisers would be the first to tell you that men very much DO buy "frivolous" things. Otherwise why would the NFL exist? LOL.

      Ok ok — women like football too ( sports loving ladies out there, put down the gentle wooden pitch forks and softly glowing torches ). But I do think advertisers prey on men's insecurities as well as women's. They make a whole host of equally-offensive assumptions about the male perspective : Am I manly enough? Do I look like I make enough money? Does my penis really have to be bigger than a breadbox to "satisfy" a woman?

      And when I'm not feeling cynical, I think the advertisers are probably doing it for the same reason we do things in our jobs : it's really easy. As you suggested, its harder to target "everybody". Also sometimes there's a very fine line between positioning your product so that its strengths are evident and exploiting gender stereotypes. I mean, if you market lipstick, how do you avoid the fact it's designed to make the user feel more pretty?

      But I understand your frustration. Some days it seems like I'm swimming in a sea of negative messages. And the thought that men are also bombarded with them? Doesn't actually make me feel better. Oh well — at least we have Offbeat Empire as a refuge. I can't remember ever seeing any offensive ad across any of the sites.

      1 agrees
      • Bahaha! "Does my penis really have to be bigger than a breadbox to "satisfy" a woman?" You crack me up. :D

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  3. I think because the Home readership is broader that it may be harder to pinpoint what we'll buy. There are those of us who need to buy new home items and those who already have all of that stuff. I mean the things I am buying on a regular basis are food, yarn (because I make all my xmas gifts and my own scarves, etc), bus tokens, and wet food for my cat. Whatever fun spending I do is small and not often, maybe a new pair of tunnels for my birthday, dinner at the pub, fancy cheese, and of course gifts for other people that I can't make myself.

    I think the ads on Home are a work in progress, eventually it'll hit that sweet spot.

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    • So what you're telling me is that we need to bring on wet cat food sponsors. I GET IT NOW!! :) :)

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      • I bet that sponsored posts about yarn (Similar to the shoe posts) would go over well. It's like how I always walked through the yarn aisles in the craft stores despite not knowing how to knit or crochet. It's just so damn pretty I want a reason to use it!

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        • Buy it and learn! I learned to knit 6 months ago from youtube videos, and I just finished my first lace shawl yesterday. it's easier than you think, and it's a very rewarding hobby. If you don't want to make a big investment, buy a skein of RedHeart SuperSaver and a pair of size 8 needles. you can learn with those and then get the nice yarn and make wonderful soft snuggly things! then find me on Ravelry and tell me you did it. ;)

          1 agrees
          • I actually did learn to knit and crochet, eventually, I'm just one of those people who eventually gets bored of a project, puts it down and forgets to do it again for 3 years. I've got a half finished scarf on the go that I started 2 years ago, and a cross-stitch that's taken me 8 years or something.

            Doesn't stop me from wandering down the yarn aisle to admire all the prettiness.

            1 agrees
    • ….in fact, now Megan and I are scheming a post called WET FUCKING CAT FOOD.

      Not even kidding.

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      • I am actually very interested in this post! I was always led to believe that wet cat food was the work of the devil and would lead to the demise of our civilization.

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        • No, no: let me school you. It is dry cat food that is such an abomination it will actually cause the Earth to collide with the Sun.

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        • It depends on which Devil you're worshiping. Dry food is theoretically better for a cat's teeth, but wet food is wet…higher moisture = less kidney problems, and also some wet foods are higher in good protein and lower in carbs. We feed some wet and some dry, and brush our cat's teeth. Yup…you heard me. Tooth brushing. SPOILED CAT ALERT!

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          • Spoiled kitties indeed! The closest my kitties get to tooth brushing is when they jump on the bathroom counter and chew my toothbrushes.

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          • You guys, just wait until the post we have Monday: the most epic post ever written about feeding your cat. (And it doesn't even get to WHAT to feed your cat. Just HOW.)

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      • Do it! We just switched our cat over to mainly wet food cause dry food makes him puke more and wet food with lots of grain makes him puke too. It was starting to compromise his cuteness.

        Also, yarn sponsors would be amazing! I'm about to dive into learning to make broomstick lace, hubba hubba!

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        • Wet food article!!
          Our previous cat ate dry food, our new cat is on a $20/week wet food diet… but his wet food does smell (and taste) pretty good. (But sometimes my brain does scream when it's my turn to buy the food)

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        • Yeah, our vet made us switch to wet because it's lower carb and our cat was fat. I HATE spending that much on cat food, but doctor's orders. She kept talking about the tiny Fancy Feast sized cans though. I'm like "Lady, I am not going to spend more on cat food then I do on people food. She will eat Pet Pride or 9 Lives and that is as far as I'm going."

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      • Oh, oh! Our cat had some serious litter box issues (involving soup-like stuff and blood… stuff of nightmares) that were eventually fixed by switching to grain-free wet food. It was surprising to me that wet food often has grain in it, but most Wellness canned food doesn't, and it seriously striaght-up solved her problem after over a year of treatment from a vet. It's expensive, though, but it's some of the only stuff that works, and it really is suppose dto be best for your cats. Our cats all have wonderfully healthy fur and everything, too! We found that Blue Wilderness DRY food is actually pretty good for them as well, and is also grain-free, so she can eat that and not have problems, which is good for our wallets. However, be warned that Wellness dry food is apparently not delicious, because none of our cats would eat it, and the salesperson said that it is common for pets to not like the taste. Anyway, just wanted to share! :)

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  4. I'd have to look at your anual readership survey but is home possibly attracting a slightly younger demographic? The young twenty somethings around college age who can't afford nicer home amenities.

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    • Homies skew a little younger/poorer, but when it comes to screaming I'M SO BROKE HOW DARE YOU EVEN POST THIS, it's always Offbeat Mama commenters.

      1 agrees
      • It's the emotions, man, I'm telling ya! Sometimes after I've read OBM I can't decide if I want to fight, fuck or cry.

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    • See, I'm a twenty something (albeit late 20s) in grad school and yah, I'm broke but if I am going to splurge it will be on home things. Mostly kitchen stuff, but desk or bedroom stuff too sometimes.

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  5. I think it's because OBH is all about DIY. When I see something on this site, I don't think "oh, I should go out and buy XYZ," I think "I wonder if I could make XYZ" or modify it to be cheaper or something. I don't buy anything from the Bride or Mama sites either, but I would never think to myself "I should try to cobble together those fleuvogs" or "I could totally build that funky high chair." There's very little inspiration to buy from OBH, but rather to make.

    1 agrees
      • I guess. I haven't counted. My feeling from the site is that it's a lot about "cool stuff that you can do/make" at home, not necessarily that it's about "cool stuff that you can buy for your home." Just my impression, don't know if others feel similarly.

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        • It's a fascinating impression, because neither Megan nor I are into DIY at *all*, so it's really interesting for me as a publisher to hear that the site feels like it's "all about DIY." FATHINATING!!

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          • I think it also is because people in OBH demographic are much more likely to be into DYI? Seeing as a lot of us are just learning how to be on our how to be on our own and that for a lot of us is DYI. Has OBH surpassed offbeat bride?

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          • Has OBH surpassed offbeat bride?

            Absolutely not. Offbeat Home and Offbeat Mama COMBINED have less than half Offbeat Bride's traffic. Nothing can compete with the flagship.

            1 agrees
          • Most of my favorite posts on OBH are before n' afters of other Homies who have rescued and/or re-purposed an ugly old piece of furniture. Those posts seem to convey that elbow grease can be even more valuable than money.

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          • Hitting reply on the last comment I can see with a reply button?! It's actually in reply to the "brokest common denominator" comment below.

            Even when I'm broke as anything, I LOVE seeing cool things that are more expensive. While I might not be able to buy them now (no good for advertisers), I might still bookmark it (pin it?!) for future consumption. And while maybe I didn't have budget for fancier home things 3 months ago, maybe this month I do…or maybe I was waiting to move…or, or…the possibilities are endless. As you say, everyone's working with a different budget. "Offbeat" isn't by definition tied into any particular household income bracket, just as all Offbeat Brides have weddings that range hugely in cost!

            So if the broke haters wanna hate on the more expensive items, really, they just need to ignore those posts, and maybe you can have a nicely canned response for them so it doesn't get you so down. :)

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          • I think the thing about DIY posts is, they're interactive, or as close to interactive as website-reading gets. The reader looks at a DIY post and needs to conceptualize and comprehend the physical processes that go into making whatever the DIY thing is.

            DIY posts involve a lot more brain power on the reader's part than passively reading an ad and deciding whether or not they can afford or whether or not they even like what they're reading out. I assume DIY posts stay current in the minds of your audience for longer because reading them takes more thought than reading advertorials.

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          • Lenna: replies only go five comments deep, to avoid indentation chaos.

            And yes, I think a nice safe template about how we have a diverse readership and we all have different budgets, bla bla bla, might be the solution here.

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        • I agree, actually. There's a definite DIY feeling to the site, almost an anti-commercial feeling, a sense of 'you don't have to spend a fortune to have a cool place, you can do it yourself/for beans'. Which is awesome, but maybe not so great for advertisers!

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          • I agree. It seems like it would be awkward for OBH to advertise large furniture items that are viewed as expensive in a general sense too. A post of "Hey, check out these awesome couches for sale" probably wouldn't help many people. I'm sure not many places specialize in "offbeat" couches, and if they do, they probably won't even ship all over the US (let alone Canada, where I live). Which limits it down to smaller stuff, most of which is generally decorative. And even that doesn't necessarily get a good hit, given that I'm sure not everyone has a good place in their house right now for a decorative shark head, as cool as it may be.

            I really like the "Do it yourself for super cheap" feeling though. Or new and inventive ways to decorate with cheaper things. I might not have anywhere in my house for a decorative shark, for instance, but I did buy vinyl stickers for my rented walls after the article on ephemeral walls. And after reading OBH a lot, I went out and bought some ribbons to add colour to a boring banister. Because the message I got from OBH was that I didn't need really expensive stuff to add more character to my home, I just needed more creative ways to use and display cheaper items. Not that I don't love drooling over expensive stuff (like that medieval game room!), but it's the cheap ideas with big impact that make me break out my wallet.

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          • This is pretty fascinating to me, too. It's a lot of things to think about!
            When I think about Offbeat Home, I mentally reference to Monday Moments, home tours and other decor porn posts. Almost every post involves DIY projects, thrift store finds and locally-sourced art, but it's always mixed in with purchased furniture and accessories. And a lot of the pieces that are handmade may LOOK DIY, but are actually sourced from etsy shops and the ilk. I could see how too many DIY or handmade items in an image might give the impression of "I don't buy ANYTHING", but even that person is getting their art supplies from somewhere.
            Glue stick manufacturers of the world… give Offbeat Home a call!

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          • I think anti-commercial kind of ties into anti-consumerism, which does tie in with the "green" feel of a lot of the posts. The reusable paper towels is the first one that comes to mind in this kind of trend. Or the "indoor clothesline" one. That said, I like these posts, and hope they don't change. I did leave the papertowel one and head over to etsy to see if I could buy some for my house (I ultimately decided they were too expensive, but they might not be to someone else). I don't know how you'd reach these folks, but maybe you'd have more luck with advertising revenue if people were actually trying to sell smaller things that tie more into the DIY-y posts?

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          • Wow, this is all SUPER interesting. We've targeted tons of Etsy sellers for ads, and most of them are simply too small to advertise — even $19 banners are too much for some folks, apparently.

            Thanks for all this feedback, you guys. It's super fascinating for me to hear. I think Megan and I must be overcompensating for not wanting to make the site feel to "shoppy" … because apparently we've been somehow conveying that it's anti-commercial, despite both of us totally identifying as materialists.

            FASCINATING!

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          • I agree that there's a "DIY feel" to the site — I'm remembering times when there was something cool one could buy, and the post also said "but I bet you could make one yourself with a little creativity…".

            I think that Jane also has a point about the anti-consumerism thing. There are a handful of posts about reducing the clutter in your life, getting rid of things, and so on. And definitely, the more "eco-friendly" ones often also involve *buying* less stuff (at least in the long run). Use un-paper towels so you can stop buying paper towels; use a menstrual cup and stop buying menstrual products.

            Part of this may be a readership demographic thing — it's possible that a large fraction of the people who get excited about making their space show their personality are also people who like to make things (and/or have more time than money — something I'm definitely seeing in myself and my compatriots) — and since those who make things for themselves tend to write more guest-posts (easier to write a guest-post about "look at this awesome thing I built" than "look at this awesome thing I bought"), the community feels like a DIY sort of group, which also further encourages that sort of people to read the blog, and to guest-post, and you've got yourself a pretty nice cycle! I think there's also a certain offbeat-ness to the idea that you don't need to spend a lot of money to express yourself through your home, which may be a further reason why that sort of readership is attracted here (I fully count myself in on that one…). Not to say that people who prefer to buy things are less welcomed, or that there isn't plenty of inspiration for them as well (see: shopping posts).

            Another thing to consider is which sorts of things tend to be DIY, and which tend to be shopping posts — my general sense is that the more practical/less decorative ones tend to be DIY, and that the things-to-buy tend to be more décor-related. (I could be off on that — it's just my gut feeling. Of course, even if I am wrong, that still says something…). Because DIY is infinitely customizable AND cheap, those posts probably appeal to a larger fraction of your readership, and so they're more likely to be remembered by more people — which gives people the feeling that they're a higher percentage of the posts.

            I don't know. I'm just speculating…

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          • …Also, I think we've gotten beaten down by the commenters who freak out whenever we post shopping stuff that costs more than $5. Seriously, we've gotten SO many angry comments that say things like, "This is too expensive! How dare you post this?!" It gets sort of depressing after a while, so I think we over-compensate by offering DIY options all the time.

            Ultimately, we're all working with different budgets, and I think we may need to stop catering quite as much to the brokest common denominator… because the result is that we're giving the impression Offbeat Home is anti-commercial when the reality is that it's always been a business designed to (GET THIS!) make money, which means it's VERY commercial.

            Again, FASCINATING feedback. So glad I posted about this. Thanks, everyone!

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          • I was just oogling at the fact that this particular post has made it into the Empire's "Top Posts of All Time" when I stopped to read this post: http://offbeatempire.com/2010/06/questions-from-readers-about-my-dream-blog-getting-spotted-and-offbeat-home

            And I think it's funny, because I feel like what people are expressing here is exactly what that post says your goals were. To quote:

            "When I think of Offbeat Home, I'm inspired by all the different kinds of living spaces I've experienced:
            Funky, hand-crafted spaces
            Truly alternative shelters like buses, yurts, sheds
            Rentals and dorms, that with just a few key tweaks, managed to feel like home
            Small urban spaces
            I want to celebrate things like:
            People making temporary spaces that feel like home, whether it's a soulless 1980s Los Angeles rental apartment with vertical blinds or a Columbia University dorm room.
            Making the most of the space you've got (like turning a walk-in closet into a nursery!)
            Getting a new feel for your home without buying more shit (I'm thinking here of decorators like SpaceTransform who specialize not in helping you buy furniture, but in rearranging what you've already got.)
            Getting truly freaky with your decor (like this lady!)
            Offbeat Home would NOT be about:
            Ogling expensive furniture (I don't need a couch that costs more than my car!)
            Propagating the American dream of home ownership (it takes way more creativity to work with a rental!). UPDATED TO ADD: Home ownership certainly would not be excluded from the blog — I'm just sayin' that the site wouldn't be all "You don't count if you don't own.""

            So, we have people loving the funky, hand-crafted spaces, or the rental spaces with a few key tweaks to feel like home. And getting a new feel to the home without buying more shit. And not a whole lot of oogling expensive furntiture. Perhaps that's just hard to monetize? Or maybe the people out there selling offbeat crafting supplies and appliances just haven't figured out there's a market here.

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          • I agree…. Contrast with Apartment Therapy, for example. I like OBH but overall I would say I find the style stuff a little…. Juvenile? Not quite right term but kind of. I will say one area where I spend disposable income is food and I think OBH lacks there. I would be seduced by gardening things too. It seems hard to appeal to rural / urban, home owners / renters. In general I almost never buy something for my home that I can't touch first, so that kind of advertising doesn't appeal to me. I think DIY seems cheaper than it is…… Sometimes by the time you buy paint + fixtures + stripper + whatever…. You're forty bucks in and it still looks like a middle schooler made it. I read oBH because I love my house! And the occasional gem. But a lot of the time I don't identify. We're not wealthy by any means but we definitely spend on our house so it's odd. Last few major purchases / projects: a wood stove, making a platform for said stove, hanging plants, more flatware, washing machine, re-did a closet with f'ed up wallpaper, a mattress warmer, cat food, a hammock….. So I would think I'd be more receptive to advertising.

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  6. Variety is good… I still love reading the post that are like "OMG, did you see that Justin Timberlake's vacation home is available for rent?" even though I'd never in a million year be able to rent it out. Also, I LOVE the shoe posts on OBB… but admittedly can't justify the expense of most of them. With those things, I'm more of a lurker… but with the DIY stuff, I get to feel like it's more relevant to me. Also, it takes a lot more skill and brainpower to DIY something than it does to click "Buy"… so, maybe the DIY stuff just tends to stick in reader's minds better?

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  7. I think also, that the home blogs I am familiar with are ALL about the DIY probably lends itself to that idea. I could be wrong. I don't get the impression that Offbeat Home is all about DIY from the content at all though.

    1 agrees
  8. "I think we may need to stop catering quite as much to the brokest common denominator"

    So right on. There are offbeat-light homies, too! :)

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  9. maybe the advertisers need to be hardware retailers, upholsterers, carpentry experts, that place you can have a membership and rotate borrowed art pieces through your home for months at a time, eco-friendly flooring, flor carpet, low/no VOC paint manufacturers (devine, benjamin moore, etc), i could go on, this is a particular aspect of my geekness, but you get the idea…

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    • Yep, these are exactly the kind of advertisers my ad sales manager has been targeting. :/

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      • Well, your ad sales manager is super-smart, and the advertisers turning you down not-so-much, because those are TOTALLY the kinds of ads I would click on and probably buy from. (FLOR carpet, I haz… rentable art membership, I want!!! Is that even a thing! Must research immediately!) Also crafty magazine subscriptions (VOGUE knitting, Crochet World, etc), classes at yarn/craft stores, etc etc…

        I eightysecond the impression that OBH is more crafty/DIY-y and less commercial, although it may just be because those are the articles I choose to read, but I also love the posts about weird/random/niche items to funkify your space (custom doorknobs come to mind). Those are definitely ads I would click to peruse/pin, even if I didn't necessarily make a purchase.

        Another thought about possible markets: I can't remember seeing much holiday-specific coverage on OBH (although admittedly, I don't read everyday – OBM is my daily dose of Empire). For me at least, holiday's are good, culturally-approved reasons to blow money on unnecessary fun party things. Not just decor, but also cooking accoutrements, serving stuff, and general party-making things that I wouldn't normally let myself splurge on (like a cone grill from CB2 that fits on my fire escape for illegal summer grilling. If I saw that ad ten days before Memorial Day/Fourth of July/Labor Day, I'd buy it.) Anyway, just thoughts!

        3 agree
        • Oooo, offbeat cookbooks! I'm pretty sure there was a post with tons of cookbook suggestions in it, and I bet a lot of readers went out and bought some. Some were specifically for Christmas presents, too, I remember. Honestly, I didn't buy one at the time, but I still have a couple titles tucked away for the future, and it was probably the closest I've come to wanting to buy something from here. Except the insanely overpriced stuff like that octopus chair and whatnot (I'm not completely broke but I'm not about the spend THAT much). Just an idea (inspired by the holiday comment above).

          4 agree
  10. I've just gone back over the past 10 pages of Offbeat Home and I'm starting to wonder if the site feels more DIY-y than you'd expect because of the physical nature of homes? For instance, the laundry filing system. You might need to go out and buy boxes and a shelving unit and end up spending a surprisingly large amount of money, even in your local discount store. However, because it wasn't bought as an off-the-shelf pack and you probably needed to rearrange the utility room to fit everything in, it'll feel more like a DIY project rather than a shopping expedition. Am I making any sense or am I rambling a bit?

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    • You're making sense! As I mentioned down thread, we do this a bit with affiliate links — for instance, when we do a DIY post with a list of materials, we always link each material to place where you can purchase it. If you make the purchase, we get a cut!

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      • And then being a mildly-broke international reader, I promptly ignore all those ads because I make the huge assumption that, even if it's a really good price, it'll be a US-based company and the shipping will be much more than the item's probably worth. In the words of my A-level Maths teacher, "Never make assumptions; it only makes an ass out of you and umption"

        Something I've always been curious about, if I followed a link to Amazon.com and then clicked links until I ended up on the equivalent Amazon.co.uk page & bought from there, do you still count as the referrer?

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        • Yeah, I do that too, I tend to assume they're US companies and not available in the UK or that they will cost an enormous amount for shipping.

          1 agrees
        • Yeah, ultimately Offbeat Home is a US-based business, and 75% of our readership is in the USA. We do our best to make our content accessible to international readers, but if we can't even get any US-based advertisers… it's gonna be a looooong time 'til we get any international advertisers.

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          • Sad that Etsy sellers that you've asked don't want to advertise with you. I live in New Zealand and the Etsy vendors I've purchased things off have always been accomodating with international shipping. The Etsy website also automatically does currency conversion for me as well, so I can look at products in NZ dollars so it's super easy. I've bought awesome stuff like a clutch bag with matching purse for my self, personalised etched beer glasses for my husband, and party decorations, all of which would be OBH-friendly. I'd definitely click on adverts from Etsy vendors on OBH.

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          • Yeah, I really wish we had more Etsy vendors, but many of them simply are not at the place in their businesses where they're willing to spend any money at all on advertising — even with results like these, there just aren't many people who are willing to try it out.

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      • I love offbeathome! I actually try to go back and find Sponser posts to click the links when I'm ready to buy said items instead of just googling it. Recently I went back and found the uprinting post so that I could buy my custom poster I drew for my boyfriend! It came out awesome btw!!! Unfortunately I do not have tons of monies so it's not often…

        I do have a slight addition to the offbeat mama theory though. I once read an article that people are very interested in other people's faces. If you include pictures of people in ads, customers are much more likely to be engaged and eventually purchase. So perhaps with mama (and offbeat bride), the posts contain lots of faces because of the nature of the products (and CUTE faces too!). Offbeat home contains far fewer faces when compared to mama and bride, mostly spaces and products. a few people in the comments here have even mentioned feeling more emotionally drawn to mama and bride then home. Of course, weddings and babies cause those emotions, but on the flip side, buying your first home and moving are big emotional moments too. I would think they all have their pulls. Anyways, It's just a theory.

        I'm sure it's a combination of things that other people have mentioned, but I thought about that article when I read this post. People submitting posts: pose with your projects/spaces/pets/products! Let us all see your lovely faces :D

        1 agrees
      • I'm embarrassed to say I never saw about the affiliates tag until yesterday. If I decide to purchase something through those past posts (2011 and earlier), will you still get credit? Or is there a cut-off date?

        0 agree
  11. I also immediately thought of this Forbes article:
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2012/02/16/how-target-figured-out-a-teen-girl-was-pregnant-before-her-father-did/

    Which basically talks about how pregnancy/parenthood is one of the few times you can straight up change people's brand loyalty. It's a lucrative market; even us broke-ass mamas have to buy some things, and after we've been sleep deprived for a few weeks things that will "help" start seeming like a freaking fantastic idea.

    0 agree
    • Interestingly, after years of struggling, Offbeat Mama's advertising is now doing awesome… thanks mostly to our ad sales manager, Kathleen, getting very crafty in how she's targeting sales leads.

      The sad news? Those same crafty methods aren't working for Offbeat Home advertisers.

      0 agree
  12. I think Offbeat Home should maybe try to find sponsors that go along with some awesome post ideas. Like Megan just posted up about reusing bamboo fencing.

    I honestly had no idea until that post they they make bamboo fences that aren't like a mat, but a legit fence potentially capable of keeping in my crazy ass cattle dog mix. I need a bamboo fence sponsor so I can feel better about the desperately needed new fence not being so environmentally bad…and damn awesome looking.

    Seriously I felt like it was a baskets moment of shit they do that?

    2 agree
    • We actually DO do exactly that thing, but with affiliate links instead of ads. When Megan wrote about bamboo fencing, she included a link to where you can buy some. If you buy it after clicking the link, she gets a cut of the sale!

      0 agree
      • Being someone in their 20's admitting this might just cause the Earth to swap poles or something else horrific…….I don't think I have ever purchased a thing from amazon.

        I don't know why. I have purchased from ebay. I have purchased from etsy. I have used Amazon to look at pretty things. I just have some adversion to buying through amazon.

        2 agree
        • I like Amazon because they're a local Seattle company with good politics. Also, they sell everything.

          5 agree
          • Also Amazon Prime makes buying things SO FUCKING EASY. I heart me some Amazon. What I'm saying is… change your ways. ;)

            3 agree
          • Agreed on all counts. And with Megan. And now I can watch Doctor Who, even though I'm in the States…. and that just makes it 100x better. :)

            1 agrees
  13. Just chiming in regarding ads and traffic… which is what the post was about I think :P…. after a year or so of reading OBH, OBB and OBE, I totally have OBH on my ad radar. Saving up the dollars and scheduling for it because I know that an ad on OBH will deliver, either with traffic or sales. (And my product isn't something that plays to peoples insecurities, but to their hobbies and lifestyles.) For me personally and my product, I feel that it's a good fit.

    As an ad director in my daytime job, I can confidently say that not many other websites or publications will be as transparent as OBE when it comes to ads. I have specifically decided on OBH versus the other sites in the empire because of this. I also like that OBH carefully selects their advertisers based on WHO will most benefit from an ad or who will fit with their site. So, if my ad is indeed approved in the next few months, I will be super excited to spend what will be a larger part of my ad revenue here.

    2 agree
  14. Would advertisers pay for "sponsored regional list" type things? For instance paying $20 to be on a "Best places to buy a vintage couch that doesn't smell like grandma in Portland" vs $50 for a full page ad/ sponsored post? Because I always enjoy lists like that to help me find stuff.

    Sometimes google can be terrible or companies don't have great websites, but if I see a recommendation or a blurb on a home blog, I might be more inclined to check them out.

    1 agrees
    • When we launched Offbeat Home last year, we had a regional listings section, and it was a complete failure. Listings were dirt cheap, and NOBODY bought. I think we sold 10 over the course of a year, and so regional listings were killed. It just didn't work.

      0 agree
      • However, it MIGHT work a lot better once your overall readership has grown to a certain level.

        4 agree
      • Which is a shame because I checked it frequently, but never saw anyone on it and was sad.

        0 agree
      • Wait, wait, my husband keeps telling me I should suggest something like this to you! Or at least, have people list services that worked well for them, in their local area (for instance, we LOVE our random electrician we tried, but we had to find him on Google, and now I would like to share). But I don't remember seeing this at all on OBH. Maybe I came in too late (although I feel like I was ONE of the first readers)…. Can we try again?

        0 agree
  15. So I think I might be in the vast minority, but what I'd really love to see in advertising on OBH, as someone that's in the process of reno'ing my own place is having ads or seeing sponsored posts from some indie vendor or interior designers on cool products geared a bit more towards renovation/upgrades (or things you could upgrade & then take with you when you leave an apartment) that you could be used in different ways & have them show how.

    We're moving into a region that's rather anti-anything that hasn't been traditionally used in building & for this reason we're having a LOT of trouble finding out information on greener materials (even with the heavy reliance on Google) or materials that are produced in the US. I'm sure there might be other Homies in similar situations, even if they are trying to do smaller projects you could find vendors with multi-tasking items that they could show how they could be used in a couple of different ways.

    For instance, the really awesome concrete polymers that you can use on both floors, counter tops, & any other hard solid surface you could dream of. It's awesome, it's "green" & it's great for what I need it for (which is covering up & permanently sealing asbestos filled floors before we lay down our actual floor), and contractors who haven't heard of it before look at you like you're insane for wanting to use it and tell you you're an idiot (totally had that happen… but anyways) I'd really love to be able to find more products like this that you could use in really fun or unusual situations and

    I know that if I saw a vendor that did a cool sponsored post say on eco-friendly & chemical sensitivity friendly insulation that laid out pros & cons of different options that they had, I'd totally be more interested in purchasing from them, because to be honest I'd rather buy from one of your sponsors that takes the time to write things out & explain what might work best in different situations than go to the general box store & be totally confused about what I'm actually buying.

    Just like with OBB, these posts kind of give you the kind of confidence to be willing to look into spending a good amount of money (as in more than $1,000) with OBH advertisers because there are some areas of home DIY & renovation that I've really had trouble finding information on (that's written towards a general user). I'm sure there's not a single solution to figure out what works best to improving OBH ads, but this is at least what I'd love to see & would be interested in buying.

    1 agrees
  16. When you're having a kid, there's A LOT of things you'll have to buy, RIGHT EFFING NOW, because the kid will arrive/outgrow what you have. You are in a spending mood ALL THE TIME (eck, even when ttc!).

    When it comes to your house, it's the exact opposite. People buy furniture that will (hopefully)last for decades, they sometime live in their boxes for months before unpacking: They are in a long term/"we can do this tomorrow" mentality.

    It's just harder to spend for luxury items and for yourself than for things your kid will need/enjoy. My 2 cents. :)

    5 agree
  17. I wonder if…

    1) Maybe people have the impression this site is a lot about DIY because your READERSHIP is really into DIY, so they pay a lot of attention to those posts.
    2) Your readership numbers are steadily growing, and I think that they will continue to do so!
    3) In a recession, people hold off on home improvement and home stuff. But for the most part, they keep having babies.
    4) People see OFFBEAT kids and parents as a much more stable / lucrative market demographic than OFFBEAT homeowners.
    5) The Tribe builds a kind of loyalty that drives / sustains traffic to the Offbeat Bride blog, and that maybe a Homie community could do the same, and therefore help with getting advertisers.

    3 agree
    • Add a sort of insecurity factor: Aaaaah! I've never been a bride.mam before! How do I do it??!?! I MUST BUY THE THINGS!!!
      On the other hand:
      Living in a home of some sort. O-kay. I got this.

      8 agree
    • Yes to the Tribe. I know you hate it, Ariel, but it really does do tons for the site. I only started reading Offbeat Bride (and bought the book) because people on the Tribe kept referencing things and I didn't know what they were talking about.

      3 agree
    • A Homie community is one of several Home-related projects already in development for 2013, and is what I was alluding to at the end of the post when I said "lots of schemes." I've heard y'all loud and clear!

      5 agree
      • Hoo Ahh! Some "place" for me to hang out now that my wedding is over! I cannot WAIT for OBH tribe!

        0 agree
  18. Part of me is also turned OFF of buying things on ads because "like, EVERY offbeat homie will now be out buying that so now it's not offbeat anymore and I'm going to have the same as everyone else".

    Never mind the fact that I actually *like* the item and very few of myfriends read OH…. My brains a weird one… But advertisers could potentially have just as weird brains as I do?!

    0 agree
  19. I think maybe your Wet Fucking Cat Food post may be the secret…. Seriously. People DO buy stuff for their pets that they wouldn't think of buying for themselves. I buy new pants once every.. um… yeah, two years. DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY LEASHES MY DOG OWNS?!?!? ALL OF THE LEASHES!!!!! My partner is always and forever finding new dog/cat stuff hither and yon. And lots of folks dress and accessorizze their critters. (Um… can there please be a site that specializes in offbeat pet clothing? I have a DESPERATE need to see a hedgehog in a bee costume.)
    Also. Storage. For all of these storage/organizing solutions? You need storage thingummabobbers.
    OOOh!!!
    And when you turn people down for OBB ads for being insufficiently wedding-targeted, suggest OBH – I wouldn't have thought of it myself until now.

    7 agree
  20. I'm just weighing in to say I agree with a couple points here. By definition, *most* "offbeat" people, are going to be artsy, crafty, creative, and/or eco-consious types. Over on OBB and OBM, you're going to get all of those types, artists, crafts people, witers, musicions, dancers… But perhaps the home improvement aspect is more likely to appeal to people who are the hands-on type of artsy, and that's why we're getting a DIY feel? Certainly I come here more for the DIY posts than the shopping posts.

    I'll admitt too, I tend to ignore shopping posts and adds because I *don't* like spending money unless I have too… but more because as someone mentiond earlier, I tend to assume they're going to be US based, and not relevant to me down here in Aus.

    1 agrees
    • Here, here! (or is that "hear, hear"? I never get that right)

      90% of the time it's much cheaper and more rewarding to DIY a lot of the purchase products than paying for shipping and waiting around for it to rock up…if it rocks up at all and doesn't get held up in customs for whatever reason.

      0 agree
      • Hmmm…maybe an option to get advertisers to include free worldwide shipping, and then you highlight that somehow?

        0 agree
  21. Another random thought: both wedding-planning and parenting tend to be really time-crunched, crazy-busy periods in one's life. And yet, you still need stuff, and you need it *by a deadline*. Therefore, you have to buy more stuff, and DIY a little less (although probably still a lot…). Living in a place — well, we don't *need* that couch yet, so we're just going to wait until we can find one we like cheap at the thrift shop. Most stuff can wait a little longer, and we're not going quite so crazy with kid-raising or wedding-planning necessarily, so maybe Homies in general have more time for DIY?

    0 agree
  22. That being said, when you do buy for your house, you buy big. I've been lurking for about a year, since my offbeat lite wedding.

    I think it's kinda sad that people punch you (emotionally) about putting something pricey on the site. Admittedly I'm affluent (compared to most – don't feel that tho) and plan on spending quite a bit on the new home. (makes me ill thinking about it-but I've been delaying buying anything for 4 years!!! It's time!) I read this site above all others because I grew up in different circumstances than I am in now. I live in suburbia, don't self identify as a rebel but feel completely stifled by my surroundings. Outside – super conservative professional. Inside- adventurous traveling feminist with disdain for the norm. Not saying I don't shop at target or big box furniture stores – but I need access to skull doorknobs and other such paraphernalia to upset the HOA.

    I would like some ways to buy international looking items that haven't been sewn by children, stolen from churches or hurt tribespeople. Rugs? Seriously – I feel icky buying rugs- where do they come from?
    I went and looked for the outdoor pagoda on that post about outdoor spaces.
    Maybe embrace the DIY side and advertise fabric stores online ( I'm doing that paper towel thing). Some cool hardware stores or start a thrift store page ?
    Just saying, I feel a little money hate from other readers but I've been down on my luck and know that stress- it makes you mad. Take a deep breath and do what's right for your business – dont want you having to yell about $10 items :)

    Love you Guys – keep Inspiring!

    4 agree
    • I was also an offbeat lite bride. I'm not what I consider affluent since I live in silicon valley, and everything is crazy expensive here. But I do own a home and I do have some disposable income, and I actually by stuff from your ads. Like the awesome colorful nesting bowl set from amazon, and the tardis cookie jar from think geek. I appreciate the ads especially since in my opinion most of it is affordable. The only thing I would have a problem with is if everything was all restoration hardware (way out of my price range). But honestly a few ads here and there that are on the high range wouldn't bother me.
      I wish I was all DIY, but in reality I suck at it, I kill almost everything in my garden, more paint ends up on me than on whatever I am painting, and sometimes it's just nice to buy something without having to struggle to make it even semi appealing looking and less like a kindergarden art project. That whole homemade towel role post last week, just looked like a crazy amount of work to me. All I do is cut up old t-shirts throw them in a basket under my sink, those I use for cleaning. For meals I bought pretty cloth napkins that I keep on my counter in a basket. Yes I am a consumer, but at least I'm not using paper products except for toilet paper (sorry I can't do family cloth).
      By the way I love this site, I just hope people become more open to buying ads here, because there are some of us homie lite people that don't have the talent to make everything ourselves.
      Also my self esteem would take a huge dive if this site went away, and all I was left with was apartment therapy and the nest. This site makes me feel totally okay with my hodge podge home that doesn't look like one of those gleaming homes on the above sites. It also makes me feel okay with not getting that magic super wife ring, where your house is always ready for visitors (instead of scrambling to toss everything into your bedroom as people are ringing your doorbell). I loved the post about not quite dirty clothes on a chair because I do that, and now I know I'm not the only one :).

      1 agrees
  23. Pets and practical stuff like storage would work really well for me.
    Maybe having a very creative audience means that people don't necessarily want things that are already "done" – whereas buying plain glass canisters which are practical and then etching them or covering them or decorating them can be done heaps of different ways – along with what you use them for being different.
    Another suggestion I have is ways to spend time in your house, rather than just stuff to add to it – so tabletop games and board games. Because our homes are obviously so awesome, we'll all want to be entertaining in them, and tabletop games are a great way to do that, right?

    2 agree
  24. I will admit to doing what i'm guessing a lot of other people here do, particularly international folks: see something awesome on OBH, immediately go looking for a local source of that thing. Like, i'm still absolutely in love with those rainbow stacking bowl thingamajigs. in. fucking. love.
    But i also know i can get them from shops here, so I am going to go out and compare the price to the price+shipping time online and yeah, I may end up buying it locally instead of off amazon, which sucks for your cut. and i feel bad for it, but not necessarily bad enough to wait the extra two months for delivery. (sorry!)

    0 agree
  25. ALSO HERE'S A COMPLETELY SEPARATE IDEA: do you open your advertising up to other websites? like rather than offering products, start talking to some of those DIY blogs and other people who are talking about their homes and offer them banner ads? or are you consciously restricting them to guestposts or fun links? some of the larger DIY sites, particularly those that may in fact offer their own limited range of homemade homewares, might well be interested!
    (ALSO FOOD SITES BECAUSE FOOD)

    3 agree
  26. The only Empire post that has ever directly resulted in me dropping money is the Seed Saver one. I really hope yall got a cut of that, because the comments implied that I was not the only one. I spent $40 because of that post. How do you spend $40 on seeds? I don't know and I blame you people.

    Also, if I don't see "Sponsored" at the top of the post, I tend to assume that the links are just you being helpful, and not something you're getting a cut of. When deciding whether to buy my sonic screwdriver at a local gaming store or on Think Geek, there's no real price difference. But if I knew that clicking your link got you guys ad revenue that would totally make the decision for me. Is there anyway to highlight which links are just "stuff we want you to see" and which are "stuff that will make us money"?

    1 agrees
      • Now I know what to look for! I would always check for the "Sponsored" subject header, but didn't scan that far up.

        Question, can I write guest post advertorials for sites and services I love that I think SHOULD be Offbeat Home sponsors and then leave it up to you guys to pitch the ad to the company? Or does advertising just not work that way? I've got a couple of things I love enough to want to tell everyone why they should use them, but I would love it if yall could get revenue from it.

        1 agrees
        • TOTALLY YES. That's exactly the kind of thing we'd love for our "My Favorite Things" category!!

          0 agree
    • D'oh! Buying your sonic screwdriver from Think Geek would have TOTALLY helped support the Empire. FYI: Generally those long product-heavy posts are always affiliate posts. AND fun fact: So far that Doctor Who home goods post has earned the most revenue for me. I love our readers!!!

      1 agrees
      • Follow up question: Lets say I follow your link to the Think Geek sonic screw driver page and from there click over to some other "if you like this you might like ___" product on the Think Geek site. I don't buy the sonic screw driver you linked to, but DO buy the other product, which is still only saw because of your promoting the site. Do you get credit for *that*?

        0 agree
      • Okay I bought more than the Tardis cookie jar, also bought the dalek alarm clock (my husbands current alarm clock is broken) and the Van Gogh tardis t-shirt umm because it's pretty. Damn you Megan for finding my kryptonite;)! I normally don't go on shopping sprees like this, but I just got a raise and I was celebrating with Dr. Who instead of booze. hmm maybe there is a little bit of negative money hate on the site, since I am now feeling the need to justify my spending habits or I'm just a little on the neurotic side.

        0 agree
  27. This is extremely specific – but do Sugru advertise? Seems like it would be a good fit.

    http://www.sugru.com
    I'm not affiliated and I've never bought any, but an air drying rubber clay that you can use to fix/hack/improve ANYTHING? Appeals to my inner engineering nerd so bad.

    0 agree

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