Given the propensity for unqualified conversions from content, Google seems to have improved upon their content targeting techniques. However, timing is everything in a fast moving market. Smaller, nimbler start-ups are taking the niche markets for content and snapping them away from Google. To name a few, Quigo, Consorte Media for the latino [
hispanic] market, etc.
For some time now, new social networks [small, unproven] or blogs that use Adwords contextual are seen as “spammy” or not having a strong foundation. I think there is a lot of truth to it. For instance, if a shaky start up with big monetization dreams puts up their website and has some traffic, they are very likely to bend over for the easiest-dirtiest way to monetize, namely Adwords contextual.
A blog, that wants to “make money” right away, sees Google Adwords Contextual as the easy way into the advertising world. See Scoble’s blog, no ads. See Dave Winer’s blog, no ads. See Seesmic, no ads. Now look at the blogs that actually have thought about the type of advertising they want. See Techcrunch, 2 columns of display ads that make some sense to the reader. You don’t see the buy-viagra type of ads you see in unfocused, worthless blogs.
UPDATE: Since posting this entry, Scoble has announced that he is actually starting to include advertising options in his blog. Oh well, hopefully he’ll do it elegantly.