Well, this is interesting. Village Voice Media appears to have switched to geotargeted ad serving as of Feb 10th, as Ana pointed out in the comments.
Here’s an example from the Broward Palm Beach New Times property where I’m not seeing a combination of ads for non-profits and American Express rather than ads for local businesses when I view the site from Toronto.
I confirmed this with a few friends who, from Minneapolis for example, see ads that are relevant to them in Minneapolis while visiting, say the Houston Press. For example, they may see ads for apartments for rent in Edina while reading the Houston Press from their home in Minneapolis.
This is an excellent step toward improving the quality of advertising for local businesses. Ideally, VVM would leverage the power of their network to serve local businesses ads to relevant visitors to any of their properties. I imagine they’re working on moving that direction.
Last Thursday’s post about Village Voice Media gaming Digg wasn’t primarily about Digg. Some people missed that based on the comments I read here and on many other sites over the past week. The crux of the problem was that serving ads from local businesses against Digg traffic from around the country and world was a short-sighted strategy that provides little value to local businesses.
Now that VVM has made the switch, Digg gaming becomes less of a problem from my perspective. It still shows that Digg is too easily gamed by organized groups promoting marginal content, but that’s a problem if the people behind Digg think it’s a problem.