If you haven't heard: We are facing tough economic time(z)

For most of my 5+ years of working career I’ve been on the media side, first on the classifieds end (BuySell.com) and then on the classifieds + content end (Autonet.ca ).On the media end your energy is divided between building interesting content (so that the people come), figuring out how to sell the advertising around that content (what do the advertisers want? how do we efficiently use all out inventory?).In between there is lots of planning, building and tracking metrics, internal politics and fighting for resources – much like anywhere else.Now I’m working on the agency side the experience has been very different and eye opening. I’m generally lucky to be working at a digital agency where we do both planning, buying, strategy, web applications, social media et al. so the work is interesting and varied for the most part.Things I wish I knew back that that I know now: (I dare you to say this 10x)The benefits developing a close relationship with the buying agency (And umn… no I don’t mean in the kick-back kind of way…)It always surprises me how little interaction the local media sites (for the most part) have with us despite the fact that we probably account for a large portion of the overall online buys.I guess it’s because generally the online industry is so small here, it’s not enough revenue to really matter. But if you are spending significant money to build an online platform – you should be spending at least a decent amount of time trying to figure out how to effectively monetize it!My non rocket science advice:1.    Please don’t place ad spots at the bottom of the page as studies has shown that fewer eye balls see them2.    Please try to make your ad placement in BigBox (or LREC as they call it here) because it offers the most design options.3.    I would also love to see some interesting creative size like the half page ad; I tried it on Autonet.ca where the ad spaces could support both a BigBox or a Double Big Box (for the same CPM rate!) but for whatever reason it did not become popular.  I guess you have to be a site like the NY times for an advertiser to want to make special creative for you. I know from out end; we would be happy to include it in the plan to see what the response was like.I do have some junior level rocket science advice (develop a network by partnering with other sites; find ways to track users and serve them ads! take over the world! no wait... scratch the last one) but that's for another post.On the other hand I’m glad I’m NOT on the media side right now. As a digital agency we focus a MOST of our attention on strategies for developing engagement directly with the customer through both Facebook and web applications and connecting directly via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, WAP sites, SMS contest, developing blogs or even content portals.Once media was such an important component; now it’s increasingly irrelevant.Tough economic times for my favorite sites like NYTimes and TorontoStar.Although I haven't been to either site in at least two weeks; but I did spend most of my 'downtime' today getting to level 21 on Mafia Wars and streaming the new episodes from The Daily Show...