One of the most important developments underlying the transformation of media is the emergence of advertising networks, that sell advertising and place it across a wide variety of online media properties. Back in the Future of Media Report 2006, describing the role of ad aggregation in supporting the growth of the long tail, I wrote:
“… now anyone can publish online and get advertising revenue without having to sell [the advertising]. This is transformative in enabling the many of the “long tail” to move towards becoming viable – though small – media properties.”
Getting others to perform the advertising sales function means media becomes completely scalable. Certainly many of the ad networks are targeting major media properties. Sixteen of the 20 online advertising groups with the greatest reach are ad networks, with online four (Yahoo!, Google, AOL, and Microsoft) distinct online properties (more on this in a subsequent post).
In this world, Technorati, still the leading blog search engine, though far more precariously than before, is today launching an ad network, Technorati Media, according to Techcrunch. Techcrunch says:
Early advertisers on the network include Honda, Acura, Toyota, t-mobile, Adobe, HP, Sandisk, MSFT, Verizon, Sun, Sony, Visa, Nike, Scion, Chevrolet, Paramount, Universal Pictures, 20th Century Fox and Best Buy.
[Technorati CEO] Jalichandra also says Technorati is uniquely positioned to sell ads at premium rates, even through small blogs, because they will be able to use descriptive tags/keywords, along with their existing blog indexing technology, to better match ads with content.
This does seem to open up a more viable monetization alternative to second-tier blogs. Currently major blog ad networks such as Federated Media are highly selective on the blogs they work with. Google AdSense is the major option for the smaller online properties, including most smaller blogs, though there are a variety of possibilities emerging, down to the low-end auction options such as Project Wonderful. Because most bloggers are familiar with Technorati and have already “claimed” their blog on the system, it would be very easy for them to set up ads from Technorati Media.
It remains to be seen what sort of revenue bloggers can earn relative to other advertising options, how comfortable the advertisers are with their ads being featured on a very wide range of blogs, and how the proliferation of blog ad networks will impact the cost of advertising on blogs. Certainly the increased ease of generating revenue – albeit small – on blogs will continue to support the proliferation of niche media.