Gone are the days of emphasizing ways to attract and keep visitors — the way television networks long have operated — by creating destinations with anything people might need for work, leisure or companionship.
Instead, those companies are now more aggressively trying to follow Web surfers elsewhere — and bring lucrative advertising to them.
As people increasingly turn to blogs, social-networking sites and other sources of user-generated media, Google Inc., Yahoo Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Time Warner Inc.'s AOL have spent more than $10 billion collectively this year to acquire companies and technologies that help extend their online advertising networks.
So instead of relying solely on being portals for consumers, the major companies are creating one-stop shops for advertisers, who are increasingly wanting to buy ads centrally and place them where the eyeballs are. The networks take care of feeding the ads to smaller sites."