Advertising.com Goes Wireless

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Advertising.com is in the early stages of rolling out an ad delivery service that pays people to receive product pitches on their wireless devices. The company told DM News it landed its first three clients for the service, called AdBroadcast.


The Baltimore firm, formerly called TeknoSurf.com, already runs a mostly cost-per-click Internet advertising network of more than 3,500 sites, and it plans to charge similarly for text ads placed on cell phones and other wireless devices.


The company currently charges between 40 cents and 60 cents per click on its online network. Advertising.com co-founder and chief Internet officer John Ferber expects to charge similar prices for the wireless equivalent of a consumer click such as, for example, a consumer receiving a security-coded discount offer through his pager and then using the code while shopping later on a PC.


"We're very hard-core into the performance aspect, so 90 percent of our business is on a [cost-per-click] model," Ferber said. He added, however, that Advertising.com plans to begin offering more marketers cost-per-thousand impression advertising on both the Net and hand-held devices.


Advertising.com is by no means the first Net marketing player to venture into the wireless space. Last month, a group of companies, including Mediaplex, Avenue A, Brightstreet.com and online ad giant DoubleClick Inc., New York, said they are working to set industry standards for wireless advertising. And other big names such as portal and Net service provider Excite@Home, Redwood City, CA, are jockeying for position in the wireless and television set-top box markets.


Still, wireless is a largely untapped area that many advertisers see exploding in coming years. Columbia House, CBS Sportsline and Universal Pictures have penned deals with Advertising.com to use its new service. Ferber did not disclose further details about those agreements.


Visitors to www.adbroadcast.com are promised between 5 cents and 50 cents for each ad they view. Advertising.com's primary marketing angle for the service is that people can use the monthly checks toward paying for their monthly wireless bill.


Registrants hand over their name, address, telephone, age, gender, educational attainment and household income. They also are required to tell Advertising.com what sorts of products they might buy through the Net and what kinds of information they search for online. Consumers have to opt out if they don't want to get marketing e-mails from Advertising.com clients.


The company claims 25,000 registrations so far. Advertising.com pays each user bonuses for each person that user refers directly. In other words, for every dollar a direct referral makes, the user gets 10 cents. The referral program pays smaller bonuses for indirect referrals.


Advertising.com said its Net-based advertising network generates click-through rates of 1.12 percent on average, a number about three times that typical in the industry. The network technology analyzes user behavior "in real time rather than relying on broad demographic profiles used by other ad networks," the company said.


Advertising.com served 1.1 billion ads in January, Ferber said. Company backers include venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates, Reston, VA, and Grotech Capital Group, Timonium, MD.
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