Thursday, November 12, 2009

Semantic Advertising or not : Diamonds are forever!

Most of us know the origins of the  "De Beers", one of the largest diamond company out of South Africa, and how its founder got his start by renting water pumps to miners during the diamond rush. It is also believed that the founders  merged their interests in various diamond mines into a single entity that would be powerful enough to control production and perpetuate the illusion of scarcity of diamonds. Rest is history! One thing at least I didn't know was how De Beers is used as an example, as shown below, of  "Bad" ad placements. Basically, it highlights the limitation of existing ad technologies like contextual advertising and behavioral targetting in understanding the meaning of a web page.

Semantic Advertising or Semantic Targeting, which is more about targeting the relevant ad based on the meaning and sentiment of the page has gained lot of traction in last few years. I will recommend everyone to read this article by Scott Brinker which explains four different kinds of Semantic advertising in a very clear way.

In theory, the value of semantic advertising is great and companies like peer39, expert system and few others have gained lots of visibility. The opportunity is large as publishing industry is going through the biggest turmoil in decades because of this new generation who doesn't believe in paying for the content. So a relevant or highly targeted advertisement will end up being a major source of revenue for publishers.

In the end, semantic advertising is still a niche space and not a whole lot is understood by the industry about the effectiveness of this approach. There are not enough demos to show the value of semantic advertisement and publishers still need to be convinced more about the benefits of switching to semantic advertising. It will probably take some more time for semantic advertising to become completetely mainstream but I don't think that it will have any bearing on future of De Beers despite the "flaw" in ad placement - as there is a saying that "it is better to have a diamond with a flaw then to have a pebble without one." "Diamonds are forever" and they will always remain a scarce and sought after resource at least in next few decades.
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1 comment:

  1. Hi, Priyank -- thanks for the mention of my post. Will be interesting to see how semantic technologies evolve, especially in marketing and advertising. I agree with you that it's still pretty niche for now, but I am hopeful that broader semantic web adoption might enable many things like this to ride on top of its wave. But that's still TBD!