John Battelle on upside down advertising

John riffs on Ross Mayfield’s idea: John Battelle’s Searchblog: Sell Side Advertising: A New Model?

The short version: Imagine online ads that carry money and rules with them. If you’re a blogger or web publisher or even someone sending out email, and you fit the rules for a given ad, you can publish it. Every time you do, you get paid.

The ads deplete the money in their account and then vanish. If the ads are working, the advertiser refills them. If publishers find that readers like them, they publish them more often.

It’s upside down because control is now flipped from advertiser to publisher/reader.

Let’s go one step further and imagine that every ad knows who sees it (because we like the non-anonymous net). Then, of course, advertisers can pay more when their ads are seen by “better” ranked viewers.

I don’t think this works in the short run, though.

Despite the success of adwords, almost all advertising is bought regardless of its effectiveness. The bulk of ads are bought by giant companies that don’t measure and are afraid to measure. (Afraid, because if they measured, they might fail, and if they fail, they fear they might get fired…) Adwords scares them because it’s so entrepreneurial. This goes past that times 1000.

On the other hand, I can’t imagine a better scenario for the future. The question is when…