Selling Placement in Library Search Results

If you're like me (and you know you want to be) you love ads!

The Disruptive Library Technology Jester isn't like me, he Writes About Selling Placement in Library Search Results.

All of this still leaves my vaguely uncomfortable, and I’m not yet sure why. (Writing it all down in this posting hasn’t helped.) It would be one thing if “preferential placement” meant “invisibly raising the relevance of such content” in the search results list. That clearly would seem to be out of bounds: invisible mucking with search results placement leads to distrust of the underlying service. Google has shown us, though, that it is possible to sell conspicuously marked advertisements on search results pages and make billions doing it. Could the same thing work for libraries selling conspicuously marked, relevant results that could lead users to an e-commerce transaction at a publisher site? Is the value libraries (and our users) could receive in exchange for such placement the free access to the digital form of the content?