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The most interesting quote for me was:
< One of the things Skrenta's team of nine people is most proud of is its ability to massage Google's (GOOG) Adsense which puts contextually relevant ads on Web pages. "We have our own technology to serve localized ads." For instance if someone is reading a story about a car crash in Palo Alto, they're likely to see an ad for a defensive driving course in the area. "It doubled our ad revenue overnight," he said. >
Anyone know what to make of this? I didn't think you were allowed to "massage" Adsense.
But I'm still confused about the wording here - it sounds like Topix was able to tweak Adsense so that it only displays local ads.
The main beef that I have with Google right now is that A) they don't offer publishers (at least us) the ability to display local only ads via adsense; and B) they don't allow publishers to use networks that do display local only ads on the same page as Adsense ads (like Interchange).
So publishers of Local content can either enjoy Adsense's ease of use and relatively high epc (but show ads that are usually not local); or boot Adsense and show highly relevant, lower EPC ads from Local networks like Interchange.
We've emailed Adsense to make the case that Adsense and Interchange aren't competitive products (one's local, one's national), but to no avail.
Time for another email to the good folks at Google to get some clarification.