One of the many frustrations that mashup developers (and web developers in general) run into is trying to use contextual ads for sites with lots of dynamic content. By their very nature, mashups typically tap into data that constantly changes, making it difficult to use contextual ads that stay up-to-date with content.
Now it seems that Dapper has changed the nature of advertising through the new release of its MashupAds contextual advertising service. If you are not familiar with Dapper, it's a web-based service that allows users to extract and use information from any website by easily setting up automated 'screen scrapes' known as 'Dapps'.
This Screen Scraping technology is now being leveraged to allow users to easily set up contextual ads that are driven by specific text elements from a web site. Users simply select elements from their web site (e.g., headers, titles, or captions) that should be used for the contextual ads. On the backend, Dapper uses its screen scraping technology to continually update the source text for ads, ensuring that contextual ads are relevant and up-to-date.
If you rely on third party content to update specific elements of your mashup (e.g., news headlines), using Dapper's MashupAds will help you to tap into more targeted ads that blend well with your content. Thus it seems that ads can now be integrated with your mashup with greater precision than before (akin to using a scalpel rather an axe to identify the key words for your ads).
MashupAds is being released in private beta, and you can sign up here. Dapper has also provided a video overview of the service as well as a FAQ page. Also be sure to check out our Dapper API profile as well as the various mashups that users have created using Dapper.