Can AOL solve the UGC and advertising problem?

I've written before on how User-Generated Content and advertising don't always get on. Or more specifically, how social networking sites, even on the scale of MySpace, are having difficulty monetizing their traffic because major brands are wary of placing ads alongside the unpredictable content created by users. Now AOL, who recently acquired social network Bebo, thinks it has the solution.

I've written before on how User-Generated Content and advertising don't always get on. Or more specifically, how social networking sites, even on the scale of MySpace, are having difficulty monetizing their traffic because major brands are wary of placing ads alongside the unpredictable content created by users.

Now AOL, who recently acquired social network Bebo, thinks it has the solution.

In an interview with paidContent, AOL president Ron Grant talks about the company's ContentScreen technology as part of its advertising offering - Platform A. The system employs the same technology used by AOL’s spam controls, whereby pages with User-Generated Content are crawled and given a quality score. Only pages that reach a certain “content-screening quality threshold” are served with ads.

“It’s very much like what we built in our spam tool. We have looked at some of the better spam tools and we’re really able to look at all of the content across the social network and give them a score. That scoring algorithm gives advertisers comfort about what they want to be there and what they don’t want to be there. That’s a very important breakthrough in terms of monetizing social networking", Grant tells paidContent.

If AOL's filtering technology works, as Grant suggests it does, then it really could be a breakthrough in social networking monetization. On the other hand, Google knows a thing or two about content crawling, and if anybody can tackle the problem algorithmically, you'd think it would them.