eBay Gets into the Ad Game, Sort Of

Posted by: Rob Hof on June 11, 2006

I couldn’t make it early enough to the eBay Developer Conference in Las Vegas to hear the company announce eBay AdContext, which at first sounds like a competitor to Google’s AdSense. Like AdSense, AdContext will run ads on Web sites—in this case, ads for eBay marketplace listings appropriate to those sites, such as listings for sports memorabilia on a baseball fan site. Those sites will get a cut of revenues that result. Big difference, though, is that this isn’t an advertising play for eBay as much as a way to drive more traffic to its listings. And it’s only for eBay affiliate sites.

Still, I wonder if it’s yet another small way that small sites, especially blogs, might finally generate some meaningful money beyond simply serving as marketing for other ventures. (At another session today, SocialText CEO Ross Mayfield wryly noted that blogs are all about ME—Monetization Elsewhere.) There’s AdSense, there’s John Battelle’s fledgling FM Publishing, there’s Gawker Media and Weblogs Inc., and soon there will be eBay AdContext. Gotta think there will be more programs to help bloggers and other niche sites make more money. Something like AdContext seems like a natural for Amazon.com as well.

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BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.

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