There's obviously quite a bit of frustration on the part of advertisers about the way the TV ad market is run, as advertisers hesitate to commit much money to them without a better system of pricing and tracking. Now a group of advertisers (including Microsoft, Toyota and Wal-Mart) is teaming up to test an auction-based system for buying airtime, with eBay set to manage the auctions. There's just one problem: though the group is looking to launch in January, it hasn't identified a willing network to sell its ads this way. There may be a lot of interest in a better way to price airtime, but ultimately, it's up to the networks to decide when to price like this, and who they want to manage their auctions -- decisions they'll resist making for as long as possible if they see this leading to cheaper advertising. And while eBay may seem like a logical company to do this, Google wants to get in on it as well. Of course, the problem with TV advertising stems from the decline of its traditional model, so a better pricing system will only help so much.
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