Exhibitors Debut RSS Ads, BTB Services at ad:tech

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Giving publishers more control over the ads that appear on their sites and in their RSS feeds is the aim of new services being unveiled by exhibitors at this week's ad:tech show in New York. Search firms also are using the show to launch services for Web publishers and search marketers.

Contextual ad solution company ContextWeb, New York, debuts a "white label" version of its ContextAd technology that lets Web publishers sell their own text ads to advertisers. The self-service solution lets advertisers buy site-specific text links via cost-per-click pricing.

"It is a natural way for a publisher's internal sales team to offer an additional advertising product to their clients and establish relationships with DM-focused clients," said Jay Sears, vice president of business development and publisher relations at ContextWeb.

Meanwhile, RSS feed management firm Feedburner, Chicago, is adding an RSS advertising network that includes publishers such as PC World and Smart Money and blogs such as BuzzMachine. Feedburner has offered targeted advertising in RSS feeds to the 5.5 million subscribers of the 130,000 feeds it manages for six months, but is expanding to an ad network.

The network is organized into nine channels, including Computing & Technology, Business and Current Affairs & Politics, to "allow marketers to reach consumers who have opted to receive specific categories of content from publishers," the company said. Feedburner measures click-throughs and impressions of the text ads for the publishers.

RSS search firm Feedster, San Francisco, simultaneously launched an automated self-service engine for advertisers who want to join the Feedster Media Network. The network will let advertisers target the "micro-audiences" reading RSS feeds via 20 channels including Technology, Arts & Entertainment and Health and Fitness, according to Feedster.

Ads will be priced on a variable cost-per-click basis, depending on the channel advertisers select.

Several search marketing firms also are trying to get their services in front of executives at ad:tech. Search marketing firm SmartSearch Marketing, Boulder, CO, launched SmartSearch B2B, a search marketing service designed to generate online leads for business-to-business firms.

BTB firms have different online marketing needs than business-to-consumer clients, including long sales cycles, complex products and different ways of generating leads online, the company said, and they generally have been ignored by the search marketing industry.

"We developed this because the BTB sale is a usually a higher-priced product, there are going to be more people involved in the purchasing decision, and it's very common for the buy to happen offline," said Patricia Hursh, founder and president of SmartSearch.

After evaluating its BTB client's search engine visibility, SmartSearch starts a search marketing campaign that includes keyword development and a proprietary search engine optimization process called WebRank to help convert leads to purchases.

Meanwhile, VerticalSearch.com, a Washington-based search engine focusing on the BTB market, launched in beta. The site indexes more than 1 million pages of content from online BTB publications

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