Advertisers spend $200 million annually to place ads in video games--and that figure is supposedly (by what magic do they come up with projections like these?) set to grow five-fold by 2008. And tomorrow's ads will be more sophisticated--they'll be time-of-day specific (fast food joints around lunch time, for example...well, and around breakfast and dinner, too, I suppose...OK, fast food joints always, but you get the idea), and even sensitive to your geography and age.
There aren't a lot of electronic frontiers left for advertising. It's made its way into online newspapers, blogs, e-mail, search engines, instant messaging, and even mis-typed URLs. One remaining piece of virgin territory is office productivity software: a tremendous amount of information on your wants, needs and demographics goes into your favorite text editor--what if you could get the editor free in exchange for a changing panoply of word-sensitive banner ads at the top of your screen? You say you wouldn't stand for it, but let's face facts: people have accepted every other kind of online advertising Madison Avenue (and Silicon Valley) has dreamed up. I'm betting it'll happen eventually--heck, they could even spin it as a free "research" service. (My apologies if I'm the first person to think of it.)