Services to protect advertisers online from appearing next to "inappropriate" broadband content emerge

TV networks and ad agencies have long had a system in place to make sure programming doesn’t conflict with the interests of its key audience: advertisers. Network standard and practices departments reviewed entertainment programming to make sure a marketer–or the network–wouldn’t be embarrassed by the theme or content. We are beginning to see such practices emerge for the online medium. For example, last year Feedburner [now owned by Google], the leading ad service company for blogs, began a service called “Adclimate” that “suppresses when an ad would be served in an RSS item or blog post containing keywords that an advertiser has pre-selected as inappropriate for their brand…FeedBurner’s AdClimate was developed to meet the needs of its advertisers in a rapidly developing market. This capability addresses advertisers’ apprehensions about their brands appearing within distributed media. Controlling ad targeting based on advertiser-selected keywords provides peace of mind and additional control.”

Now there are similar services for the burgeoning world of broadband video. ScanScout, for example, says it offers advertisers “brand protection.” The company asks: “How can advertisers be assured that their brand messages will only be seen adjacent to the most appropriate content?” That’s where “ScanScout’s Content Matching technology” comes in, because “[I]t ensures that the right ad is shown to the right user at the most opportune time.
Brand Protection: ScanScout technology is designed to ensure that advertisers’ brand messages will only be seen adjacent to the most appropriate content.”

ScanScout explains that (its emphasis) “rich content scanning is deeper and more precise than anything ever introduced, creating algorithmic intelligence about each video and each user’s behavior, enabling far better matching than ever imagined…”

Much is said about the important role of advertising supporting the diverse array of online content. And it’s true that we have tremendous content diversity and advertising plays a key role. But just as advertisers shaped radio, broadcast television and cable that helped undermine their public interest potential, we suggest that much more analysis and debate is needed to explore the ultimate impact of advertising on the future of the digital ecosystem.

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