The Chandler campaign is evidence of the latest step in the evolution of the Internet. Blogs, once derided as solipsistic exercises by self-important nobodies, are starting to go commercial as their readership grows.
The trend is in its early stages; big advertisers like Coke and Procter & Gamble aren’t yet hawking their wares on blogs. Indeed, much of the advertising is found on politically oriented blogs, which are experiencing a spike in readership from the presidential election. Many people wonder if the blog ad boomlet will outlast the election.
But other Internet institutions have had similarly modest origins; recall that eBay started out as a place to trade Beanie Babies and Pez dispensers. And it’s no surprise that as blogs grow in popularity, they are beginning to attract advertisers.
I am confident that weblogs and citizens’ media are going to be a tremendous medium for marketing and will make real money for their proprieters. It always takes time for advertisers and agencies to catch up — hell, they’re still catching up to the Internet… and cable — but catch up, they will. I’ve written here frequently that we still need some infrastructure to support marketing (see, for example, yesterday’s note on RSS and measurement) but once it is in place, this will explode.