Now Scott Karp has a very interesting post on Publishing 2.0 on online ad networks and in particular on Openads, the open source ad serving software company. As usual, well worth reading and pondering. Extract:
Here’s the dirty little secret of ad networks — ad serving isn’t rocket science. What is hard work is developing relationships with advertisers, particularly for mass scale advertising. But for highly targeted advertising, independent niche publishers have a unique relationship with their readers, and are in the best position to judge what is most relevant to their readers (and Google has shown that relevancy is a huge driver of advertising value). Google has automated and scaled this process, but that has been to a large extent around Made for AdSense sites that have a commodity relationship with users rather than an influential, high-trust subscriber relationship.
… the one advantage of ad networks is the efficiency of scale — but there’s nothing to stop independent publishers in the same niche from starting their own, highly targeted ad network.