Bakersfield.com allows local businesses to pay to post Facebook and Twitter updates
The local news outlet signs up and adds a widget to its site and businesses can then pay online and add Facebook or Twitter updates.
Last month Publish2 launched the product called BreakingPromos, enabling local businesses to post ad messages via Twitter. Businesses can now post using a Facebook page, which Publish2 believes will be more attractive as its research shows more small businesses are on Facebook than Twitter.
US local news outlet Bakersfield.com has added BreakingPromos. All pages of the site now carry a ticker of social media messages from local businesses (see its homepage here) and the full array of updates have their own page.
Local retailers, food outlets and other businesses can use the Facebook or Twitter buttons on the news site's business page to post an update. They are then prompted to buy the ad space and pay using Amazon. The post created using the widget on the news site is then added to the business's own Facebook page or Twitter account.
"Business are already using social media and are used to posting updates," Scott Karp, chief executive of Pubish2, said. "They can simply do the same thing on the local news site to reach new customers through the local news site."
Announcing the move on its blog, Publish2 said: "The goal of Publish2’s BreakingPromos is getting every local business to advertise online by making it as easy as posting to social media, the one form of online promotion that local businesses have figured out how to do on their own."
The revenue is split, with the local news site receiving 50 per cent and Publish2 taking 50 per cent.
Karp said that one of the advantages of the social media ad option is that there is "no overhead for the local news sites" or for Publish2. "We like to call it a make money while you sleep model"
Karp said that the model "doesn't require a sales force", but a site will need to promote the self-serve social media ad facility to local businesses.
Asked whether UK sites could add BreakingPromos, Karp said that the company is "definitely going to add support for non-US sites" and explained that the only reason the option is not currently available is that Amazon, the self-serve payment method, supports only US bank accounts. Karp is currently looking at other payment options, such as PayPal.
"For it to be a profitable proposition is has to be very scalable," Karp said, adding that "it is not that different from classifieds".
Price points are low and the aim is to "generate significant revenue" by increasing in the number of local businesses advertising and the volume of ads posted by those businesses.
"If you look at Google it makes its money a few dollars at a time. That's the online model that works."
Publish2, which describes itself as "powering the next generation of news", is the company that created a Financial Times-style HTML5 web app for a local US news outlet, allowing them to access their audience and include the app in its paid subscription bundle.