John Battelle asks: “What happens to advertising when distribution is secondary, and audience and content is primary?”
That is exactly the question internet publishing and blogging opens up (at least, the best forms of it). Internet based publishers don’t control access to some finite distribution system, all they control is access to the audience itself. This, in turn, can and should skew the conversation around internet advertising to one based on endemics – is this advertiser a good fit to the audience in the *context* the site provides? Can the advertiser address the audience in a voice that respects and even adds to the conversation occurring at that site? The lack of distribution scarcity creates a subtle but important forcing mechanism – It lets the best publishers (to my mind) say “Sure, we’ll take advertising, but only advertising that respects the conversation present on a site will truly flourish.” That, in the end, creates an ecology which rewards the strongest content and authors/sites which have durable and vibrant bonds with their communities.