Shel Holtz has posted some thoughts on "Putting Some Structure to Blogging." This is very, very exciting stuff. You can read the source material here. The idea is to make all kinds of information -- calendar events or movie reviews or retail sale announcements -- as easy to post as a blog entry. Shel quotes Pamela Parker at ClickZ with an example of how this might work:
You’re a marketer at a retail operation specializing in the latest fitness gear and apparel. You want to run a campaign promoting a sale you’re having on Saucony Grid Hurricane running shoes. So, you pull up your content management application. You select “offer to sell” from a drop-down box. Up pops a list of fields, which you fill in, one by one. You make selections for item type, brand, price, colors, sizes, etc. You hit “publish.” It appears on your company’s Web site. You wait.
Meanwhile, a fitness content site is collecting offers to display in its “classifieds” section. Someone has asked to be alerted if Saucony Grid Hurricane shoes, in a women’s size 8.5, are offered below $90. That person gets a notification—perhaps on her instant messenger application—and a sale results.
This seems pie-in-the-sky right now. But give it 2 years, and I think "micro-transactions" like this one will become more and more common. Imagine a grocery store chain maintaining a blog with recipes, cleaning tips, and other information aimed specifically at its target audience: grocery shoppers. Couple that with a robust RSS feed broken down by ZIP code, and the store is able to alert shoppers when a particular item goes on sale -- or tag recipes on the blog with notifications of price. The key is to provide content, first and foremost. Build trust among your audience with that content, by giving them what they want, and the transactions will surely follow.