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As Sites Add Tags, Tagtextual Advertising Will Follow

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Here’s new evidence that 2005 will be the year of folksonomies – commonly known as tags.

Metafilter, a popular community weblog that anyone can contribute to, has just incorporated tags. Metafilter’s tags are simply free-form keywords people have used to describe their posts. They are launching tags to create “a great bottom-up way of organizing everything that has ever been posted to MetaFilter.”

The larger a word is, the more times it has been used to tag a MetaFilter thread. The site has also posted a page that breaks out the top 150 tags.

This year many web sites will incorporate folksomic structures to make it easier for users to find and share information. Currently, tags can be found on Furl, Del.icio.us, Flickr, and now Metafilter. By the end of this quarter I bet that other social media sites like OhMyNews, Kuro5shin and even Slashdot will incorporate them as well.

By mid year the bigs will join the fun. At least one major news outlet – perhaps CNET – will also start use tags to organize their stories and feedback. (John Roberts, you listening? I just gave you a free idea!)

Tags are a natural complement to search because they empower users to create structures that organize unstructured consumer-generated media. Last week I wrote about the need for marketers and communicators to monitor folksonomies.

However, the online marketing opportunity here is actually much greater. As tagging takes off, the next step will be for all of these sites to monetize this content by launching contextual advertising programs, perhaps powered by Google Adsense.

This will give the marketer new ways to reach engaged consumers by sponsoring tags across one or more sites that carry folksonomies. I call this “Tagtextual Advertising” and it’s a coming.

Steve Rubel is a PR strategist with nearly 16 years of public relations, marketing, journalism and communications experience. He currently serves as a Senior Vice President with Edelman, the largest independent global PR firm.

He authors the Micro Persuasion weblog, which tracks how blogs and participatory journalism are changing the public relations practice.

As Sites Add Tags, Tagtextual Advertising Will Follow
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