Monday, November 07, 2005

AJAX and ad revenue

There are a couple of articles emerging about how AJAX will compromise ad revenues - here are those:

Ajax Challenges Web Development Leaders -- And Web Publishers And Advertisers (July 2005)
AJAX bad for publishers, good for users?
AJAX Good or Bad Part II (or What should publishers do with AJAX?)

From my perspective, I don't think it will actually be that disruptive. Unless I'm misunderstanding, there are basically two types of ads on websites: 1) dynamic content-specific ads, and 2) static ads manually sold to companies. Examples of the first type would include Google AdSense and Yahoo! Publisher Network ads. Examples of the second type might be the fish store down the street that buys space on my site for a static ad, or maybe Oracle buys some static space if I've got a big tech blog.

I don't see AJAX as much of a threat to the dynamic ads, except for when someone navigates away from the first page into a different section. At that point, AJAX would make it so a new ad might not be generated (but some examples, like Gmail, somehow still serve up new content without refreshing the page). Maybe that would matter to folks who have a different setup than me, but I'm just using Blogger and don't currently see AJAX as a threat to how the ads work here. Am I wrong?

As for the static ads, I don't see a threat there either, just a difference in how payments are determined. In the past, you might go to a vendor and say "I get 10000 page views per day on my site, and will sell you space for $X." Now you'd instead say "I get 25 clickthroughs per day on my site, and will sell you space for $X." So you'd change the metric away from page views, but so what? The only vendors I can see this not working for are those that just want a static ad to their brick-and-mortar business, that don't have a web presence. Those guys definitely aren't my target market anyway.

So the threat from AJAX? Not so much, in my opinion.

The threat from JavaScript, though, is a different matter. For example, see all those great links I've got on the right hand side? That's all "content" specific to my interests, yet it's not being factored into ads because it's just a .js pull from the site instead of being recognizable HTML. I also don't get revenue at the source of that "content" (on That to me is a much bigger revenue loss than any AJAX app.


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