Online ad networks or online content networks?

As Peter Caputa mentions, we had a call this afternoon. Among other things (like cool event microformats and digital identity standards), we kicked around some of our ideas about online advertising and content.

Peter posted this on my "theory":

Boris mentioned a theory that there will be online ad networks like google's adsense, yahoo's business/ad services, cnet networks, job sites, rss ad networks, etc, etc. that advertisers will turn to.

Actually, I wasn't so much talking about the ad network side of things -- although I do think there could be improvement in that area. I was more thinking about the content network side of things.

Just like radio and TV networks are actually in the business of producing content around which ads are wrapped, and they band together to have more content to be more appealing to ad networks, the same thing is/will happen online. But we are seeing it at a very grass roots level today.

Yes there are the Corante's and WebLogIncs of the world that are experimenting with this, but they seem to be very traditional models just moved online.

There are micro-networks forming. Some of them are communities of interest (I only have to think about my writing about VoIP, Skype, and related, and think about the other dozen or so high profile people in the space) and some of them are regional or based on offline social networks.

I probably link to Tris, Ianiv, and Arieanna's Cooking Made Simple (as well as other "local" Vancouver concepts) more often than not. Urban Vancouver isn't really doing a lot of election blogging this year because we helped Terminal City set up a site dedicated to that (and The Tyee is doing something as well).

Today, those networks are informal at best. Something like 9 Rules might be the start of more formal connections. These networks of eyeballs can present an attractive target for advertisers.

And I think there is lots of advertising money just waiting to spend more money online, especially as broadband enables richer advertising.