I'm in Washington D.C. as part of the Long Tail Fly-In, a group of around 60 small web publishers assembled by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). As a publisher who uses context-based advertising on the Drudge Retort and other sites, I was invited to meet with members of Congress to talk about why this form of advertising is important to online media.
I attended this event last year and met aides for Reps. Diane DeGette (D-Colo.), Michael Castle (R-Del.), Bill Young (D-Fl.), Charlie Melancon (D-La.) and Mike Rogers (R-Mich.). I also elbowed Rep. Ciro Rodriguez (D-Texas) hard in the schnozz in one of the tiny elevators in the Rayburn building, but I don't think he knew I was with the IAB -- so no harm, no foul.
This year the odds are pretty good I'll be talking to a member of Congress, since 18 members of the House or Senate have scheduled time with us.
That's where you come in. I'd like to hear from people who are running full- or part-time businesses that are fueled by Google AdSense and other third-party ad services that provide contextual ads. I'd like to know how you started the business and whether it will be viable if new privacy laws make it impossible for ads to be targeted to users using cookies and other web technology.
I wouldn't be able to run the Retort or my other sites without AdSense, one of two ad brokers I'm currently using on the site. I tried a half-dozen other ad providers before Google got into that business, and none of them generated enough revenue to be able to afford server hosting, much less any of my time.
If you're running an online site with these kinds of ads, I'd like to hear from you so I can crib your stories tomorrow on Capitol Hill.