Google has long been talking about offering space in print publications to advertisers using it’s Adsense system. Beginning a test this week Google will be offering space to advertisers in newspapers like the Chicago Tribune, the New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Seattle Times and Philadelphia Inquirer amongst others. These newspapers will be offering advertising inventory that they wouldn’t be able to sell normally to small businesses and local advertisers.

Advertisers will be able to bid on the available ad space and the newspapers will be able to accept and decline at will (thus ensuring they at least get the kind of advertising their readership want). The newspapers can also set the prices if they choose, one would assume they would just set minimum bids to again ensure quality of adverts. Again I’d assume that there will be some kind of localisation in place to allow relevant businesses to place their ads with some knowledge that the readers are likely to be interested in their offering.

This test is said to be running until February during which time Google will not be taking any of the ad revenue, if the programme continues they will then take a share.

This is great for small businesses who normally couldn’t afford the space in a major newspaper, it brings them the opportunity to try a new medium and to control their advertising from one central space. It seems to me that this brings more benefit to these advertisers than to the newspapers who may have an issue once existing advertisers start requesting different ways, such as auctioning, to buy their space in future!

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Mashable (quickly becoming a must visit destination every morning) is carrying a story about The Sun newspaper and it’s first foray into the social networking world.

My Sun is the newspapers first attempt at acquiring some user generated content through a social networking type platform. It’s fairly obvious the My comes from MySpace and it’s obvious a lot of inspiration has been taken from the social media darlings of the moment.

However, I don’t want to take anything away from The Sun as in my eyes it looks like they’ve made a really good job of coming up with a social space which will allow them to engage their readers and create a community around their newspaper website.

Everyone wants to talk about the news, and let’s face it, The Sun carries the kind of stories that get people talking!

The core of this service sits around discussion forums, a blogging platform and the ability to add comments and send in pictures related to stories on the site. It’s all tied around a nice feature caled My Sun which gives signed up users a profile area to tell the world about themselves and a blog to post their opinion on things. Also, My Page is a nice feature where you can specify categories of stories that interest you and they get delivered to your page. It’s this level of personalisation that could make this a really shrewd move for The Sun!

I think it’s a great idea, not that it’s groundbreaking, but it’s been nicely implemented. The selection of services offered gives real value to users and regular readers of The Sun online are sure to sign up.

A very smart first step into the social arena for this tabloid newspaper!