Open Source Ad Tags – What dat den?

    March 10, 2005

Back in the summer of 2004 John Battelle was talking about sell side advertising in a post inspired by Ross Mayfield’s …

cost per influence blog at Many to Many. In the last few days, that idea has been picked up again, and given a whole new twist.

Follow the title link for the full post.

In explaining the concept, John said:

In traditional advertising models, the advertiser holds all the cards. They decide what they want to spend, and most importantly, where they want to spend it.

But the rise of pay-for-performance networks like Overture and AdWords/AdSense has changed this relationship in significant ways. First, advertisers are only paying when their ad performs – this alone is a huge shift in media. But as I’ve pointed out repeatedly, these networks also disaggregate advertisers from publishers. The advertisers are no longer choosing the publisher with whom they are doing business, they are instead choosing keywords, concepts, context.

OK, but not very good for publishers nor for audiences, in my opinion.

Enter the Open Source Ad Tag

After Fred Wilson reopened the discussion in January this year, we now have Jeff Jarvis continuing the concept and taking it a step further with a post entitled A call for an open-source ad tag

As Susan Mernit explains, the general idea is that websites are able to add tags to their pages, in a similar way to how FOAF works, that specify what type of ads you’d like to carry. Advertisers would search for websites on target with what they wish to display which would, in theory, make for a more efficient solution than something like Adsense and Adwords.

The problem is, as searchviews point out, that it’s open to abuse, abuse on a massive scale I’d say. It is an interesting idea though, and as you can see from all the links and the timeline, it’s one that’s on a slow burn at the moment…

Nick Wilson is the publisher and founder of

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