Two developments in the last day indicate a possible shift in the advertising business model arriving in the digital environment.
Google has predicated its success on the basis of click-throughs to ads it serves, but its stock price reeled in trading early today because of new data indicating that people aren't doing what Google needs them to do --- namely, clicking through.
An earlier study I cited found click-through rates declining heavily in the last year.
Now, Microsoft has come along to tout a new model of valuating online advertising, and it's an interesting concept. Its "engagement mapping" proposal would examine all Internet interaction preceding a transaction --- if I understand it right, where I surfed before I shopped --- to assess who should get what from whom.
Microsoft will roll out the approach in beta in a few days. While the high-profile war between the two digital giants involves Microsoft's pursuit of Yahoo!, this may be an even more interesting play that affects many more people.