Advertising Model

The web advertising model is an extension of the traditional media broadcast model. The broadcaster, in this case, a web site, provides content (usually, but not necessarily, for free) and services (like email, IM, blogs) mixed with advertising messages in the form of banner ads. The banner ads may be the major or sole source of revenue for the broadcaster. The broadcaster may be a content creator or a distributor of content created elsewhere. The advertising model works best when the volume of viewer traffic is large or highly specialized.

Portal -- usually a search engine that may include varied content or services. A high volume of user traffic makes advertising profitable and permits further diversification of site services. A personalized portal allows customization of the interface and content to the user. A niche portal cultivates a well-defined user demographic. [Yahoo!]

Classifieds -- list items for sale or wanted for purchase. Listing fees are common, but there also may be a membership fee. [Monster.com, Craigslist, Match.com]

User Registration -- content-based sites that are free to access but require users to register and provide demographic data. Registration allows inter-session tracking of user surfing habits and thereby generates data of potential value in targeted advertising campaigns. [NYTimes]

Query-based Paid Placement -- sells favorable link positioning (i.e., sponsored links) or advertising keyed to particular search terms in a user query, such as Overture's trademark "pay-for-performance" model. [Google, Overture]

Contextual Advertising / Behavioral Marketing -- freeware developers who bundle adware with their product. For example, a browser extension that automates authentication and form fill-ins, also delivers advertising links or pop-ups as the user surfs the web. Contextual advertisers can sell targeted advertising based on an individual user's surfing activity.

Content-Targeted Advertising -- pioneered by Google, it extends the precision of search advertising to the rest of the web. Google identifies the meaning of a web page and then automatically delivers relevant ads when a user visits that page. [Google]

Intromercials -- animated full-screen ads placed at the entry of a site before a user reaches the intended content. [CBS MarketWatch]

Ultramercials -- interactive online ads that require the user to respond intermittently in order to wade through the message before reaching the intended content. [Salon in cooperation with Mercedes-Benz]