I haven't written much on advertising - because it mostly bores the heck out of me - but I'm sensing that we're about to wander into some really interesting Web2.0 advertising territory where young people lead the charge in shifting the model from corp->consumer to person->person(on behalf of corp). So in the effort to understand the field better, I'll be reading up over the next few months.
Note that I also use the best product in the planet: AdBlocker Plus for Firefox - so despite this emerging interest, I never see ads online. I think the change is going to occur when people like me who use Adblocker are actually interested in engaging with product/service based content/material - and we can do it in a way that doesn't need to be blocked as an annoyance.
Article yesterday in the WSJ gives a good background on the field. Here are some notes:
* There are about 300 ad networks in existence
* Web publishers ceding more of their ad inventories to the networks to sell
* But there are too many networks and it's hard to efficiently manage a campaign
* Some ad networks specialize in a certain topic area, like home decorating or physical fitness, while others cut across multiple subject areas.
* Tech: Some deliver ads to Web sites based on whether the ad topic matches the personal interests of surfers based on the sites they've visited before, while others use the content of the Web site as their guide.
* An estimated 80% of ads are now sold through a network, and that number has been increasing the last couple of years. The top-20 ad networks that sell display advertising earned more than $2 billion in revenue in 2007, or about 14% of the total graphical-ad market,
* there is now a biz in helping biz to figure out which networks to advertise on. middle men to the middle men.