Thursday, February 5, 2009

Web Ad Industry Killing Itself

In this article, which fits well with our discussion yesterday, president Chris Tillinghast laments the site's declining ad rates and revenue. The industry's standardization of shapes and sizes has allowed advertisers to place the same ad on multiple websites, using ad networks to bypass individual sites' sales teams. In response to this problem, Tillinghast seeks to develop new ad formats -- with interactivity or data-collecting capabilities -- which will increase the profitability of advertising on

I wonder, though, whether the technology already exists. (Somehow, the ads on Facebook know that I'm interested in graphic design and weightlifting.) If MSNBC were to patent the new ad formats, the patent's inevitable expiration would drive down the site's profits. By that time, more innovative and profitable ad formats might exist.

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