Net Perceptions Boosts Click-Throughs for ZDNet

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Net Perceptions, Eden Prairie, MN, this week boasted that its technology has increased banner ad click-through rates at computer information site ZDNet between 20 percent and 100 percent.

The e-commerce software firm is trying to expand its reputation beyond that of a maker of collaborative filtering technology. Such software pitches different products to individuals based on the assumption that people who behave similarly online will desire similar goods.

"We're trying to be a leader in personalization technology, broadening from our collaborative filtering roots, if you will. So we want to use the most appropriate technology for the problem at hand," said Andrew Simpson, product manager for the technology it licenses to ZDNet, called Net Perceptions for Ad Targeting.

Unlike collaborative filtering software that might help automate a few product offers within a site, Net Perceptions for Ad Targeting is designed to handle the greater "put-through" involved with many pages of banner ads, Simpson said. Generally, commerce sites that manage and serve their own ads want to put up as many banners as possible, thereby increasing their total impressions.

Net Perceptions began working with ZDNet, San Francisco, in November. The Net Perceptions technology is designed to measure click-through rates when it is inactive and contrast those numbers with how many shoppers click on banners when it's turned on. Improvement varied from banner to banner for ZDNet, with some ads' click-through rates doubling.

Net Perceptions' technology picks which banner it will show to individual consumers based on their past click behavior, the page they're on, time of day, the number of times they've already seen each ad and any keyword searches they've carried out within the site.

The product is designed for large sites that manage their own ad inventory. Simpson said Net Perceptions for Ad Targeting is not being used in conjunction with any online ad networks. Besides ZDNet, other clients include Playboy, and the Twin Cities Star Tribune.

Net Perceptions charges its customers an annual licensing fee that varies according to the average number of ads client sites serve monthly. A site that serves up to 1 million ads per month pays $25,000 annually. For $400,000 a year, sites can serve unlimited ads. n

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