For small publications, finding businesses to advertise can be difficult. And since most small publications are free, advertising is probably the most important aspect of keeping the publication afloat.
Enter MediaBids, which allows publishers to auction or sell advertising space. Also, advertisers themselves can set a price and receive bids in square inches.
I’m not sure whether this is the magic bullet for my wireless publication since I think local ads are pretty important for its success. Currently MediaBids has mostly national advertisers, but the infrastructure for extremely local advertising is in place. In the meantime, MediaBids could help fill in the gaps for fledgling community publications like WifiPDX.