Wednesday, March 26, 2003

It was shaping up to be an interesting but quiet group of headlines this morning when the story of Amazon filing for a patent on web ad auctions hit my screen. I've oftentimes turned to Amazon as a paradigm for successful content ecommerce, because more than any other consumer-oriented portal they understand the concept of providing deep and meaningful context to people's needs based on their own interests and the interests of like-minded people. What I believe what Amazon understands in this move is that the value of such contexts can be best leveraged by NOT turning them into a standard commodity but rather into unique selling opportunities to reach the kinds of highly focused and motivated audiences that marketers truly cherish. The moment of seeking something is the moment in which that "something" is most highly valued, and finding something in a context that says "this is just what I was looking for" creates the highest value of all. Content valuation models of ALL kinds, not just ad models, should consider this reality carefully and consider how content valuation models such as auctioning can be put to use to maximize the opportunities that highly contextual content offer.
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