13 June 2008

The tug-of-war between media firms and ad networks

Just what is going on in the world of Internet advertising? Ad networks -- those systems that use technology to pump online ads to various websites, are on the defensive because media companies (oh, at least some of them) are forming their own networks which we could call captive ad networks (basically, like their own ad departments, with some tech thrown in perhaps) Now, ESPN says that this is because the brands their sites get does not seem to be matching its image. Sounds like a good reason, and probably has its origins in the automated way ads are pumped into content sites.
However, I am still not convinced. My suspicion is that if content is created in one place and technology takes care of a good part of the placement of advertisement -- and more important , the pricing of an ad is determined in a measurable, transparent way -- a good bit of fat-cat executives who collect ad cheques may be on their way down -- or out.
I think the last word on how ads should be placed on the Net will take a while to figure out.
I am playing the devil's advocate here, but am keen to find out what is going on in a universe full of gazillion Web pages. Meanwhile, here is a very readable, gossipy, chirpy story on the business, with some great quotes. Loved reading, actually. Be warned, it is part fact, part fiction.

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