So what does this have to do with Aol's Seed? As has been previously reported, Seed promises to use the power of algorithms to determine what content the people want. But there's a massive difference between what people want to read and what advertisers want to associate themselves with. If this weren't the case, Accenture and Gillette would still be 100 percent behind Tiger because content about him is currently popular. No such thing as bad publicity, right? Wrong!
In the print world, pruriently popular content is often anything but a liability. If whatever is between the pages, and on the cover, sends copies flying off the newsstands, money is made.
The ad running adjacent to the Tiger Blog is for Verizon Wireless, a respectable advertiser to be sure, but the list of advertisers who want to be associated with that content is inherently shorter, no matter how much traffic the blog gets. I was going to do a compare-and-contrast of who is advertising where in the Post to make my point, but realized there's too much I don't know -- such as what advertisers turned the "opportunity" down, and whether the rate is any different because of the content, which today even includes a headline titled:"14th woman to be linked to Tiger identified: report." Great.
This post is not to say that Seed will be all about scandal. There's bound to be tons of news-you-can-use features and human interest stories that don't involve secret girlfriends. But there's something to be said for algorithms not ruling the world.
Previous coverage of Aol at BNET Media: