A Call For Brand Support

Two months ago, I stepped away from my typical column topics to thank you, the iRunFar reader, for your tremendous and unexpected personal support of late. This support has continued through the summer, including this past week. Thanks again!

When penning that earlier article, I began writing about brand support, but decided to focus on all of you instead. Now, it’s time to turn an eye toward the companies and organizations that make iRunFar possible.

Frankly, the ongoing support from a collection of brands, races, and organizations has made iRunFar possible these past eight years. Without their support, we would not have been able to provide our daily articles from a wide variety of authors nor our race reporting from around the world. We here at iRunFar and you the reader owe them gratitude.

It’s with that in mind that I want to make it more apparent where to focus that gratitude in two ways.

The first way is by creating a page that notes the companies and races that have recently supported us by advertising or the like. This our tip of the hat to them and a place where you can go to find out who’s making our in-depth reporting on the sport we all love possible.

One of the reasons I’ve decided to create the supporters page is that it’s not always clear which brands and races are actively supporting iRunFar. That’s because in addition to the ads of our direct supporters, iRunFar runs what are known in online advertising as remnant ads. Basically, these ads run when there are open advertising slots on iRunFar. They’re pulled from “ad networks” that pool ads from an unimaginable breadth of companies. So if you see an ad for a toothbrush, baby formula, a flight, or a new BMW, those ads are coming from an ad network. That’s all well and good, as these remnant ads add a small, but meaningful income source for iRunFar. For me, the downside is that you’ll also see ads from brands that are paying pennies on the dollar for ad space, yet appear in every other way as being full-strength supporters of iRunFar. (To be clear, brands whose ads show up on iRunFar via these ad networks are almost always buying ads to run across a broad swath of the internet with an ad network showing their ads when you check the weather, read the news, and otherwise browse the internet.)

This spring, I did away with remnant ads for a couple months in hopes of further highlighting iRunFar’s brand supporters (and speeding up the website), but put them back up in a time of stress. (See July’s article.) I’d like to remove them again. Here’s where trail running brands, races, and other potential advertisers can help make for an even better iRunFar experience for all of us: you, them, and iRunFar. We need them to step in and help support iRunFar over the coming months. I’ve got a substantial, but reasonable dollar figure in mind (roughly a month’s operating expenses) and if we get that much in new brand support committed though year’s end before the end of the month, I’ll turn off all remnant ads until next year… with the hope that later commitments for 2018 will keep those remnant ads off iRunFar. [Heck, in good faith, I’ve turned the remnant ads off for now. Comment if this enhances your experience. Maybe it’ll help! -bp]

If brands make it possible for us to go this route with their direct support, the ads you see going forward will much more directly represent that brands and organizations that make iRunFar possible. Let’s all hope this happens!

So, if you work at a brand or put on a race and you’re interested in possibly advertising on iRunFar, sponsoring our race coverage at an upcoming race (possibly Ultra Pirineu if supported, possibly Les Templiers if supported, and The North Face 50 Mile), or otherwise partnering with iRunFar, please contact us. Not only will your support help us to continue providing what we hope is the best information on trail and ultrarunning on the internet, but also enhance the iRunFar user experience as well as be recognized as a direct supporter of what we do!

If you otherwise have influence with a brand and feel strongly that they should be supporting iRunFar’s work, please consider putting in a good word for us!

Thanks!
Bryon

[Evening Addition] Ps. Please, let’s not turn this into a shame fest. If you don’t see a brand you like on the Brand Support page, try contacting them and letting them know that you’d love it if they’d support iRunFar. Frame what we do and what they could do positively. :-)

There are 36 comments

  1. Matt

    Have you thought about setting up a Patreon account as a means of accepting regular donations from readers? I know you’ve already got something similar on your website but Patreon also has other functionality should you wish to use it to support the website.

  2. Hugh in Colorado

    The list makes me feel great about the Salomon shoes I bought this weekend but not so much about last month’s Ultimate Direction vest. In the future, I will absolutely consider this list when making purchases. You should consider putting it right on the front page.

  3. Danny W. Pimienta

    Group Run Supporters has Orange Mudd listed twice :)…I am grateful for the support of these aforementioned brands. Your UTMB coverage was unmatched by any other. I’ve been a short time reader of iRunFar but it has definately made my decision easier to transition to trail/ultra racing. Keep it up!

  4. Pierre

    Bryon, you used to have you’re own gear for sale. Where did that go ? I might be tempted in a tech t-shirt with I-RUN-FAR logo (if color is right…)

    1. Bryon Powell

      Hi Pierre,
      Thanks for letting me know you might be interested in an iRunFar tee shirt. While we’ve shut down the store, we intend to sell iRunFar gear intermittently. We did this during our Hardrock 100 coverage in July and hope to do so one or twice later this year.

      Cheers,
      Bryon

  5. Ryan Smith

    Thanks for this inside look into the finances of keeping your work alive! Very interesting. Two thoughts:
    1. As others have said, I will consider this list when making my next shoe/vest/gel/whatever purchase. You provide an invaluable service to the trail running community, and I want to give back to the companies that support you.
    2. Echoing Pierre, I would love to buy an iRunFar shirt as a way of showing support.

  6. Charlie Mercer

    If you want to make serious dough-ray-me, I still say you should start making running cards the way that other sports do (e.g., baseball cards). They could be site-specific, since you are one of the only entities getting to all these premium locations. So, for instance, François, Kilian, Tim, Xavier, Jim, all the way down to number 50 for ex., they get their own card with a UTMB-specific photo taken by you, and with all the UTMB stats (aid station splits, pace and place per section, etc.), and then some branding stuff on the back. Then you get the card packs into Target, Rite-Aid, etc., and the kids will gobble ’em up! (especially if you put a stick of chewing gum in there!)

  7. Delia

    I echo the sentiment expressed on the previous discussion about supporting iRunFar regarding brands that get “native” advertising through their sponsored athletes in your interviews. I don’t want to see any more Hoka or Nike Trail t-shirts on interviewees unless those brands start supporting iRunFar. That is free advertising, that shouldn’t be free.

    1. Bryon Powell

      With the exception of something extremely vulgar or offensive, I can’t say I’d ever ask an athlete to not represent their sponsor. I know many of the athletes and respect that they receive support from brands, even if those same brands don’t necessarily support iRunFar. (And I would not base my decision to interview or not interview an athlete based on whether her or is sponsor supports iRunFar.) At times, I do wish there was a bit more overlap between the two groups. Honestly, this is one are where the sponsored athletes might have some influence. I know some brands have gone to their athletes before potentially supporting iRunFar… why not turn the tables and have the athletes suggest to a brand that it consider supporting iRunFar? Perhaps, I’m just exhausted at the moment.. ;-)

      1. Delia

        I am glad you would not base the decision to interview an athlete on whether their sponsors support iRunFar! Not that anyone would think you would – but still good to know.
        Just tell ’em they all have to wear a Laz white-button-down :)

  8. Joel

    This is great to see and acknowledge the companies that are supporting IrunFar and ultimately the trail community at large. It’s also extremely eye opening to see (1) just how few companies are actually major contributors, and (2) how many of the major brands are NOT financially supporting IrunFar. I am just one person, but I am extremely disappointed in these brands (we know who you are, and you know who you are) and as other’s have already said, I will be far more likely to spend my money on the brands who support this site. Thank you IrunFar team, and those brands who continue to make this site possible!

    1. Bryon Powell

      Hi Joel,
      Thanks for being willing to support the brands the keep iRunFar going. Hopefully, we… and they can give you a broader pool of brands to choose from going forward. Over in Chamonix this past week a runner suggested that all the top brands “buy in” at levels appropriate to their–revenue? trail revenue? involvement in the sport?–to support our in-depth, unbiased, global coverage of the sport that benefits all of them. That’s a fantasy, but a worthwhile one. The per company amount that would allow iRunFar to thrive and, I dare not think it, do more is so reasonable. Alas, even just a little more support would provide the breathing room to make continuing iRunFar a bit less scary.

  9. Moderation

    Well, I’m super glad to see that Altra, one of my two shoe brands, is right up there. I’m going to write to Topo Athletic, Hammer Nutrition, and Injinji and ask them to support you too!

    1. Bryon Powell

      Thanks a bunch, Moderation. Contacting those other brands you like can only help. We’ve never had the pleasure of working with Topo (had a great chat with Mr. Post last winter Outdoor Retailer show) or Hammer and would love to work with Injinji again.

  10. Lily

    This has certainly been eye-opening. I’m also disappointed to see certain brands that I assumed were supporting iRunFar missing from the list. I may only be one person, but I speak through the dollars I spend. I will be switching over and spending those dollars on the specific companies who support iRunFar.

  11. Delia

    I didn’t mean to make this into a brand shame-fest. Bryon intended this to be a way to highlight the brands that do support iRunFar, and I’m grateful for them, and glad to see a couple of old favorites represented (thanks Patagonia, always the champ!). We should applaud others when they step up and join the list of supporters.

    I’d be just as happy to see the interviews decommercialized, where no one gets to wear for-profit branded stuff, especially if iRunFar could get that revenue elsewhere. Some athletes might choose to represent something more altruistic if they didn’t have to wear their sponsors’ gear. (perhaps advocating for the public lands that we all enjoy?) If you’re going to give that advertising away for free, let it be for something worthy.

    Turning off the remnant ads is great! Would so much rather see a prominent link to the list of supporters than any of those ads.
    Also glad to hear a Patreon page is in the works.

  12. TK

    Maybe provide stickers to those who make a donation? Seems like lots of people “sticker up” their gear and cars (I’m guilty of it). 14ers.com sells them in their store for some support.

  13. Nathan

    I’m probably in the minority, but I don’t really have a problem with the remnant ads, and if you get more revenue with the up I think you should leave them up. They just show the same things that follow me around the internet everywhere because I am considering buying them. Phones I look at, running gear, video games, etc.

    I will message Ultimate Direction and Tailwind though, as they are two of my favorite ultra brands not on the list.

  14. NateL

    Very, very cool to see Texas race organizer Trail Racing Over Texas and its sister clothing company No Fine Print on the sponsorship list. The iRunFar contributions coupled with existing efforts to sponsor local athletes, comp entry for current and former military, donate portions of race proceeds to the state parks in which races are held plus offer the really, really perk of discounted or free future race entry for dedicated volunteers makes it very clear the Goyens are really invested in the trail running community. I had no idea they were supporting iRunFar in some fashion.

    Also really happy that brands I use are on there. Knowing a portion of my purchases support a site that covers my beloved pastime which I read daily is great. It helps justify the expense.

    Thank you for your efforts, iRunFar team.

  15. Paul

    Let’s keep in mind that irunfar is a business not a charity, and one of many covering the trial/ultra community. No business has a moral or other obligation to advertise with irunfar. If irunfar can deliver a compelling value proposition to its advertisers, then the companies will come. Calling out companies as shameful for not advertising with irunfar is misguided.

      1. Probably Not Popular

        This may not be a popular post, but I totally agree- as a marketing professional this is the wrong way to attract new sponsors or advertisers. Just blindly throwing out “support me” for “great visibility and easier recognition” doesn’t do anything other than make your organization look unprofessional. You must go out and make contacts and SELL your value prop and not ask your core customers to do it for you. Just my 2 cents. I really like your website and appreciate what you do- I think you could take this to the next level with a little bit of help:)

        1. Bryon Powell

          Hey PNP,
          Thanks for taking the time to write and share your thoughts. I share the below merely as discussion/explanation.

          From a marketing/ad sales perspective, I am not a professional. No argument there. I know the contacts at the brands that (I think) would benefit the most partnering with iRunFar, have shared iRunFar’s value proposition(s), and, in some cases, lacked success. That situation may very well not change, but I have no problem with having readers and the brands’ athletes giving a one-time nudge suggesting the value those individuals think partnering with iRunFar would provide the brand. That said, the concluding sentence was a last minute addition. The article was primarily intended to thank the brands that do support us; introduce a new value proposition for brands, that is explicitly being noted as an iRunFar supporter; and try to further enhance value to brands by limiting the noise that is remnant marketing. So far, the are did result in being contacted by a number of brands, including some that I’ve reached out to without reply in the past.

          As it is, I think this is the first time I’ve ever published an article noting the availability of advertising opportunities on iRunFar in our 10+ years and 4,000+ articles. Hopefully, it’s the last!

          Cheers,
          Bryon

  16. Fernando

    Ouch, those last two posts were a bit direct but ultimately stated, Bryon was using this website to reach out to brands not yet supporting Irunfar. Well, a website IS a marketing tool. Everyone uses the internet to shop, socialize and dare I say it, marketing, the business of putting a product out to the masses and convencingly selling that product. I, admittedly have no idea what it takes to run a website like this but Im certain it is not a modest number. The website is nothing but professional. Noone on this side of the Atlantic covers ultras or ultracontent on the scope Irunfar does, and yes, some will say thats arguable but in general, I believe most will agree. So why not use this tool and reach out to those elusive brands, and make a bold and tactful statement by thanking those who already support Irunfar on different levels? Other brands use this website for marketing via interviews, show reviews, etc…why not reverse the role? Nothing unprofessional about that. Good luck Bryon!

    Fernando
    San Antonio, TX

  17. Brock

    I iRunFar as it is, but I would also like some more “interactive community stuff”. So instead of messing up something that is already high quality (iRF), weRunFar.com could be better to do stuff that allows the community and also brands to do more interactive stuff. I know it is probably not a low hanging fruit or that it would solve any short-time issues, but I miss something like “iRF meets Strava”.

    1. Brock

      weRunFar community:

      – Integration also towards Ultrasignup, Plotly, Instagram and Twitter would be cool.
      – Discussion/Forum (only paying members can post (like $10 signup-fee/$5 periodic fee?), perhaps free to read?).

      Sections, accounts and/or integration in discussion/forum:
      – Races (race-to-racers or racers-to-racers interaction).
      – Gear/Brands (interaction with users)
      – Research projects (need participants? want to participate?)
      – Trail Guides (community can make contributions)

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