Tags and Content-based Advertising

I don't follow the online advertising space, so I may be late to the party with this thought. It may already be done. But if not, I think it should be. For the most part, online advertising (especially things like Google AdSense and the Yahoo Publisher Network) use keywords on the page to determine relevant ads to post.

That's all well and good, but somewhat error-prone. Sometimes it's hard to determine the topic of a web page just from applying some heuristics to the content. And thus irrelevant ads may be served, which does nobody any good.

But why not take tags into account? While there is "tag abuse" and "tag spam" out there, all that would hurt is the site and the relevance of the ads served. On the other hand, for sites that play by the rules, it should be a very efficient and accurate way for ad networks to find highly relevant ads to serve. And technically it's quite simple to just grab the links with rel="tag" attributes out of a page. Certainly much simpler than trying to determine the content of a page based on a natural language analysis.

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