A flight to quality on the Net

Stephen Baker

Here's my last story at BW before vanishing onto book leave. I worked on it with Jessi Hempel. It's a look at the new measurement techniques coming into Internet advertising. The idea is that as advertisers get more information about the performance of their ads, there will be a flight to quality. I think it will affect everyone from big time publishers and blogs to search engines. The elite will make out like bandits while everyone else slugs it out in the commodity pit. (One point I didn't make in the story, for lack of space, is that commodities aren't always cheap. Oil's a commodity, after all. And as ads are measured more and more, they'll be judged on uniform metrics, much the way stocks are.)

In the original version of the story, we wrote much more about the brain-scanning technology that TACODA Systems is going to hitch up to human guinea pigs surfing the Web. This will measure the brain activity to see if the ads they're seeing are registering in their minds. Using these types of tools, companies should be able to optimize the placement and form of ads for maximum brain suction. I'm thinking of asking TACODA if they'll hook me up to one of those machines...

In another article in the same section, Tim Mullaney looks at aQuantive's efforts to apply Internet-style measurement to TV.

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