For many publishers, revenue stemming from subscribers and newsstand sales pales in comparison to money brought in from advertising, but not nearly as many people are buying ads. Online, readers all but demand free access to content, so I'd like to develop a system that gives users content for free, but offers services to advertisers that will draw them in to the point of writing checks.
My goal is to make a multimedia-intense site featuring in-depth news and feature stories of interest to a metropolitan, and eventually a regional marketplace. At present I'm not concerned with any form of a print product.
I am of the opinion that more targeted advertising is more effective advertising, and businesses will pay for precise and accurate targeting. The 'shotgun' approach in traditional print media, coupled with ever-declining readership and a lack of auditing feedback make newspaper and magazine ads basically worthless for all but the largest companies.
I would like to see a system where users provide basic demographic information and are assigned a unique UID. Every time they log in to view stories, ads appropriate to their demographic would be displayed. Of course, personally identifiable information would not be turned over to the advertisers directly; only demography.
Under such a system, advertisers would pay only for the prominence of their ad on the page and the number of users they want to 'buy' access to. Perhaps there would be a pay-per-click aspect as well a la Google. Advertisers could then be assured that they're hitting their intended audience without paying for the extra, worthless impressions doled out by the nature of print media.
This site would be targeted at a non-national community, so of course local business would have access to local users right alongside larger companies. No point in charging a small, local fashion boutique for ads seen by casual users in Japan; unless they wanted to buy access to those users too. You can think of it as scalable advertising at a scalable price.
As a professional editorial photographer, this is a bit distant from my knowledge center on the tech side.
So can all you Slashdotters toss out some broad-stroke ideas on how you would put together a system like this; and what the pitfalls may be on the tech side?"