_Sebastian Arciszewski is one of the founders of “SplitReason.com”:http://www.splitreason.com/ a Vancouver-based online retailer selling apparel to geeks and gamers around the world. Along with his partner, Brian Penner, he is now embarking on a new project called “AdFights.com”:http://www.adfights.com/ – a website which pits advertisers spending power against each other in a forum where the advertisers are openly mocked._
*One Degree: Where did the original inspiration for Ad Fights come from?*
My partner, Brian and I have been brainstorming for a little while as to what crazy and unique ideas can potentially lead to a large windfall of money in a short period of time, with minimal effort since our daily tasks with SplitReason.com take up most of our time. Originally we had planned to mimic the Million Dollar Homepage _(see “One Degree’s coverage”:http://www.onedegree.ca/2005/09/09/the-million-dollar-home-page)_ but soon realized that it had already spawned literally hundreds of copycats. During an MSN conversation, Brian came up with the concept for AdFights.com – allow advertisers to compete for ad space in a concentrated arena of advertising, while mocking the ones not willing to pony up the money for premier placement.
*One Degree: The site has a real attitude. How has calling some of your advertisers “cheap bastards” gone over?*
This is the defining characteristic of the website, and we like it that way. We never thought this idea would even produce five bucks, and yet including humor and openly mocking our advertisers seems to have attracted some attention, and it’s for that very reason that many have decided to send us a couple of bucks and put up an ad. The power of unique presentation is sometimes as powerful as the idea itself.
*One Degree: There is a really odd mix of advertisers on the site. What have you learned about advertising from this experience?*
You’re right, the mix is quite odd, but when you look through the list of sites that have chosen to advertise on similar sites such as the Million Dollar Homepage, the mix is just as strange: from penis enlargement pills to banks to hair stylists. We’ve learned that there is always opportunity for innovation in the advertising world, especially online. Too many people rush to put up banner ads, and try the Google Adwords roulette wheel before thinking creatively about what their advertising and promotional options are.
*One Degree: How do you spread word about the site itself?*
We initially targeted customers of the Million Dollar Homepage and other pixel sites, but are now moving towards a little bit of advertising on targeted sites and trying to spread the word to anyone that is interested in writing about a unique advertising vehicle. To be honest with you, sites like AdFights.com are almost entirely about word-of-mouth and attention from the press. If you somehow manage to achieve the right mix of those two, in terms of exposure, the sky is the limit.
*One Degree: Have you been able to balance your work on Split Reason with Ad Fights? Side-projects can be distracting.*
AdFights.com was built and put online almost over-night, so the effort that has gone into it has been minimal, and that’s been the goal all along, minimal effort, maximum reward. I wouldn’t really call it a distraction from SplitReason, it’s more of an experiment on the side.