Maybe what our online business model needs isn’t more whiz-bang, but some simplicity.
Jim Coudal founded The Deck, an all-sponsorship, no cost-per-thousand ad network that is completely sold out. He was merciless in describing how newspapers sell online ads. That model, selling eyeballs a thousand at a time, only causes publishers to create more page views, creating more supply and driving down the price. It’s economics 101, and it’s a race for the bottom.
The solution? Stop selling CPMs. Only use sponsorships, which pay for time in front of your audience rather than impressions. Never sell an ad that cheapens your site (berry cures and fat pills and shady mortgage refinance offers). Ideally, only sell ads for products you use and think your audience would use. By doing this, publishers can create scarcity and break out of the race for the bottom.
— Matt Waite, senior news technologist, St. Petersburg Times