Advertising.com Touts Ad-Serving Capability

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Advertising.com, Baltimore, an online ad network that sells banners on a mostly cost-per-click basis, said it is selling ads beyond the established Advertising.com network.


Along the lines of the model traditionally associated with Engage Technologies Inc.'s Flycast unit, Advertising.com considers itself a direct marketing company. Its network reaches mostly low-profile Web sites with an emphasis on perpetually optimizing campaigns for higher click-through rates.


But Advertising.com's ad-serving capability -- technology it owns rather than outsources -- can deliver advertisements across just about any medium with a screen. The firm claims to serve 2 billion ads a month on the Web and 400 million via e-mail. Its optimization system works without human intervention.


In February, Advertising.com began delivering ads to wireless devices. The move preceded a similar advance made last month by ad-serving giant AdForce Inc., Cupertino, CA. Unlike AdForce's system, Advertising.com's technology does not target people based on their latitude and longitude, though it can target static geographical areas such as ZIP codes.


Advertising.com currently sends out a "couple million" wireless ads monthly, according to co-founder and chief Internet officer John Ferber.


"Our system will deliver and target and track across anything that utilizes [Internet protocol] in order to communicate," Ferber said. "Our systems … take away the concepts of those media being separate entities." The system will deliver to set-top boxes as well, the company said.


In short, Advertising.com says it is selling its Ad-OS ad serving technology outside its network so marketers can run campaigns that aren't linked to any particular medium. Ad-OS targets by using anonymously collected online user behavior, among other data, the company said. Ferber said Advertising.com has signed five clients for Ad-OS. The clients asked not to be identified.


The Advertising.com Web network comprises two thousand or three thousand Web destinations that are active "at any given time," Ferber said. Examples include: desktop graphics site artpc.com; page-building site maxpages.com; and small search engine findit.com. Cost-per-click rates begin at 50 cents.


Clients on the established network include Hoovers.com; GE Financial; DowJones.com; e-mail firm LifeMinders; CBS Sportsline; search engine GoTo.com; and Columbia House.


Advertising.com maintains that its Net-based network generates click-through rates three to four times better than the industry average. The company boasts conversion rates two to four times greater than the average.


Increasingly, the company is moving toward charging advertisers on a cost-per-thousand impressions basis.
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