Piers Fawkes argues that it's time to drop the banners and instead publishers need to concentrate on brand-fueled content.

When I was in Shanghai a few of weeks ago, I was invited to sit with some of Asia’s top bloggers to listen to an interactive marketing agency explaining their social media marketing strategy. There was much talk about creating conversations through blogger outreach and, I guess, the idea was to be transparent about what they did and how they acted with new media publishers.

Earlier in the day, some of those bloggers had spoken in the same room on a panel about their sites. There were young men and women from across the pacific region – from places like Australia, Singapore and Japan – and they all seemed to have a similar desire: to turn their blogs into a business. The common plan among these online publishers was to escape their day jobs to a life of online publishing by getting enough traffic that they can sell advertising against. The problem literally presenting itself before them is that brands and advertising agencies are trying their best to get out of the ad game: our presenter never mentioned any campaign with a media budget. Her whole angle was to get bloggers and people using social media to start conversations about a brand for free (except in China where we were told that paying for posts that talk about brands is a common practice, even for international brands).

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