What Problem Zemanta is Solving?

In the 1980's and early 1990's if you want to consider yourself a serious programmer you had to read Dr. Dobb's journal. This journal wasn't available in Slovenia and becoming a subscriber was too expensive for my monthly allowance. But when I got my hands on some example copies of Dr. Dobb's journal at Cebit and other trade fairs it always felt like holding a sacred texts in my hands providing an initiation into secrets of top programmers.

After 38 years in existence, Dr. Dobb's journal will stop publishing new articles end of this year. The journal is not being sunset because it would loose its audience, but because of declining revenue. As explained by its editor in chief

Four years ago, when I came to Dr. Dobb's, we had healthy profits and revenue, almost all of it from advertising. Despite our excellent growth on the editorial side, our revenue declined such that today it's barely 30% of what it was when I started. While some of this drop is undoubtedly due to turnover in our sales staff, even if the staff had been stable and executed perfectly, revenue would be much the same and future prospects would surely point to upcoming losses. This is because in the last 18 months, there has been a marked shift in how vendors value website advertising. They've come to realize that website ads tend to be less effective than they once were. Given that I've never bought a single item by clicking on an ad on a website, this conclusion seems correct in the small.

As the banner advertising is collapsing, the world of publishing is in a free fall. While advertisers might enjoy lower price of web advertising, they ultimately need publishers to provide medium to enable advertisers tell their stories. And advertisers certainly don't want a world where they'd be at a mercy of Google, Facebook, and Amazon, so they are very much motivated to help publishers adapt to the realities of 21st century. There are many companies involved in finding a solution each of them addressing part of the problem (check Spoutable for an example for a great new monetization tool for publishers). One big unresolved issue is enabling advertisers to buy at scale new native ad formats that publishing industry is inventing. And that's the problem Zemanta is solving.