Terry Heaton calls Keystream‘s SmartAds “the dumbest idea I’ve heard in years”. What’s “smart” about SmartAds is that they appear in “blank” spaces in online videos. Those blue skies over the ocean? The wide green fairway of a golf course? The wall beside your sweetheart’s smile? Slap an ad in there. Same idea as billboards by highways, only worse, because it’s rationalized as a “dramatic improvement in user experience”. Robin Wauters at Techcrunch doesn’t like it either, and says so in Keystream Unveils SmartAd, Wants To Turn Watching Videos Into A Painful Experience.
It’s one thing to come up with a sucky advertising idea, but to fail so spectacularly at PR is two-fer of fatal dimensions.
One quibble with Robin, who writes, Obviously, there is a need to open the advertising spigot when it comes to Web videos, but this is not the way to do it. It’s 2008. Isn’t it time we thought past advertising, toward revenue models based on serving customers, rather than guessing at them?
Advertising even at its best is still guesswork. That’s the “pain point” we should be trying to relieve, and where ideas should show up that VCs can fund. Improving a pain in the ass doesn’t make it a kiss.