Amiad Solomon, CEO of Peer39, kicked off the Web 3.0 Conference & Expo in Santa Clara, CA on Thursday with a keynote discussing the Semantic Web and how it relates to advertising. He told the audience that this is one of the key business opportunities in the Web 3.0 era. "I believe the simplest definition of Web 3.0 is the monetization and commercialization of Web 2.0," he said.

To fully appreciate how Web 3.0 can offer better advertising solutions, Solomon suggested that we start by analyzing the Web's transformations since Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau wrote the official proposal for the World Wide Web in 1990.

The Evolution of the Web According to Solomon

Web 1.0 was basic connection via the Internet, where information flowed one way and was rarely updated. Web 1.0 ended in 2001 with the crash of the dot com era that some estimate cost in excess of $5 Trillion. The Web 1.0 lesson: Cash, not content, is king.

Web 2.0 marked the beginning of the 'two sided Internet,' where we started using the Internet to talk to one another. This interactivity generated billions of dollars in data - virtually for free. The Web 2.0 lesson: Sustainable revenues are possible.

Web 3.0 offers detailed data exchange to every point on the Internet, a 'machine in the middle,' with three main characteristics:

1. Smart internetworking

The Internet itself will get smarter and become a gathering tool to execute relatively complex tasks and analyze collective online behavior.

2. Seamless applications

Web 3.0 theories suggest that all applications will fit together; a continuation of open source where all applications will be able to communicate. APIs will read data from any platform and provide a single point of reference.

3. Distributed databases

Web 3.0 will need somewhere to store very complex and memory intensive information. It will require ontologies to establish relationships between information sources; search millions of nodes, and scan billions of data records at once.

How Does This Make Money?

"This is where the semantic Web comes in," Solomon explained. "Businesses finally understand the Internet, and recognize that advertising is a good business model - if you can make it work."

According to Solomon, there are two approaches to advertising currently being used; contextual advertising and behavioral targeting:

Contextual advertising systems scan website text for keywords that trigger the system to send predetermined ads. Used in search engine results page, contextual systems show ads based on users search words; unfortunately, these ads aren't always relevant as words can have several meanings. While errors occasionally result in humor, and are good for a laugh, contextual ads show a serious weakness: companies investing in them are wasting advertising budgets, brand promotion and sentiment.

Behavioral targeting systems collect information on a person's Web browsing history, usually by way of cookies. Given the European Union's Directive 2002/58 on privacy and electronic communications, and pending US legislation restricting the use of cookies, behavioral targeting campaigns via cookies can no longer be seen as a valuable investment. Additionally, home computers are oftentimes shared, and if cookies are enabled, users get to see ads directed by other user's cookies. Again, badly targeted advertising can be a nuisance for the user, and a waste of advertising dollars.

The Way of the Future: Semantic Advertising

Successful advertising means showing the right product to the right person at the right time. The semantic Web puts data into semantic formats on the fly, and targets ads based on the meaning of data with a high degree of accuracy.

This is good news for the user - no more embarrassing keyword results, no more Hooters ads on sites about feminism, and an end to annoying cookies.

Do you agree that the Semantic Web will bring even more effective advertising to the Web?

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