Ad Age column: The open ad marketplace

I wrote a column for Ad Age proposing the need for an open ad marketplace to bring advertisers and bloggers together and to help support and explode this already exploding medium. I’ve written about this notion here; I’m delighted to get the chance to bring it to the people with the money.

It is just too difficult today for advertisers to join in the exploding world of blogs, podcasts, citizens’ media and the mass of niches. It’s hard for them to find the best and most relevant blogs, to measure and verify their audiences and to assure that they’re trusted. It’s harder still to reach the authors and negotiate rates. Though some blogs are in ad networks, they may not be the ones the marketers want most-and those networks may place ads the bloggers don’t want. Finally, serving the ads is a technical headache for both advertiser and blogger.

Yet I hear advertisers dying to reach customers via influential blogs, and I hear bloggers dying to get their money. This infant medium is growing fast. Media research firm PQMedia’s just-released study of blogs, podcasts and RSS pegged 2005 ad spending at $20.4 million and forecast a 145% rise this year, to $49.8 million, with growth of ads on user-generated content expected to continue at an annual rate of 106% through 2010.

Imagine if it were actually easy to buy ads there; citizens’ media would explode.

So how do we accomplish that? I propose an open ad marketplace that would allow advertisers to find the best blogs and bloggers to find the best ad deals.

(In case you have problems with the site’s on-and-off registration, another version is here.)