OneRiot, a search engine for the real-time web and developer of the PulseRank algorithm to discover trending content on the web, has recently announced its plans to monetize the real-time web by making available contextual ads that are related to trending topics.
They have partnered with a few partners including Digsby, a popular IM and social networking client (think twitter application) to display in-stream ads based on the trending topics as identified by OneRiot and its technology called RiotWise trending ads.
The idea is simple: based on trending topics show related ads in twitter clients, iPhone and IM applications etc- all devices and applications that are used to consume the real-time web. apparently people hooked to the real time pulse of the internet would be willing to click ads that are relevant to that real-time pulse.
OneRiot claims that such contextually relevant ads see better click-through rates. If this is true this is anew paradigm in the real-time monetization of the web.
In-stream ads are not something new and for example ad.ly has been targeting end-twitter users and encouraging them to tweet sponsored tweets along with and embedded in their normal/regular tweets. where OneRiot differs is that it is not targeting end twitter users, but twitter applications etc. and by linking the ads to the real-time pulse of the web, makes the advertising experience pleasurable and likable.
Some form of monetization would need to emerge to support the real-time web, and though users may initially dislike these ads, in the long run they will be here to stay and we may as well get exposed to most relevant in-stream ads rather than meaningless in-stream sponsored ads from other services like likes.com which let the user decode what to advertise and tweet about.
Of course the best monetization I can still envisage is affiliate marketing with your in-tweet links being converted into affiliate links like that of Amazon affiliate programs etc.
I see a lot of focus and innovation happening in the monetization efforts for the real-time web and am excited. I hope you share my excitement and predictions.