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Online advertising revenues for news sites get shaky

May 18, 2005 at 8:55 by Martina Comments

Advertising programs like Google’s Adsense have revamped the PPC model and provided new revenue streams for news sites. Apparently we are now living in a perfect world where even small publishers can earn some money serving contextual ads, and advertisers can deliver targeted messages to their prospects. How long is this going to last? Not much predicts Bill Virgin in his yesterday’s column. Virgin claims that as soon as advertisers gain more experience, they will learn much of their advertising budget are wasted, and this take us to the end of free online information, and therefore to the death of many news sites.

It ain’t easy to express an opinion on this matter. The New York Times announced yesterday it is going to charge for parts of its online content, tboth the WSJ and the Financial Times are already doing it since a long time. No doubt advertising revenues aren’t enough to keep a news site alive, but I tend not to have such a tragic view on information remaining free. I believe news will remain free, opinions will be charged.
But free information supported by ads is not the only point in Virgin’s article, basically he writes about online ads being ineffective and advertisers preferring traditional media. Again, I don’t agree (otherwise I would be working in another industry): advertisers still “tend” to prefer traditional media because they don’t know much about the Internet. For example, if you want to target teenagers, you’ll find them online, not watching TV. It’s something very logic and banal: you need to put your message where people can see it, and the Internet can be much more efficient and cost effective in delivering results. Advertising requires planning, and a good planner needs to know (a lot) about any media available.

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