Product Offers New Options for Desktop Ads

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On the heels of last month's launch of its desktop advertising network, which has already attracted the attention of major online media-buying firms, ad technology company Conducent is about to release two products designed to give marketers more control over their software ads.

The first offering, Desktop Media Promotions, allows marketers to co-brand any of Conducent's approximately 470 software products and deliver customized messaging within them. The other, Desktop Media Technology, is a suite of design tools which will offer marketers the ability to create their own uniquely branded, ad-supported software.

All ads in DMP and DMT are served and tracked by Conducent, Sterling, VA. The software is free because of the ad-supported model.

Although these new products will not formally be released until later this month, several ad agencies, including Digitas and Grey Interactive, are said to be interested in having their clients use Conducent's latest offering. However, Robert Regular, Conducent's director of sales and marketing, said it may take two to three months for the new offerings to take off. He did not explain exactly why, other than that it's a new offering and it would take some time to create awareness and implement them.

"We've already received a strong response to our Desktop Media Network from advertisers and media planners," Regular said. "I'm confident we will get the same from other marketers for our new offerings."

Online ad representation services, including Real Media and Cybereps, last month agreed to sign on to use Conducent's DMN for their clients. The DMN includes more than 7 million users a month; more than 20 million people have installed advertising-supported software from Conducent.

With the new products, an advertiser using DMP can deliver direct messages into any of Conducent's partner software, such as a golf game. Volvo could be the sponsor of that game and deliver unique product placements and ad messages throughout the game. All of these ads and messages can be customized and updated regularly.

An advertiser using DMT can create its own software, complete with customizable ads and messaging. Throughout the use of this software, users will experience targeted ads and messages.

But Conducent does not appear to be the only company interested in having companies co-brand or advertise in widely distributed software. Canadian company Tsunami Media, Calgary, Alberta, has been working on the idea of placing what it calls "video-quality ads" into DVDs. It has only recently been creating awareness among the ad community, mainly large advertising firms. Sources close to the company declined to name them.

Little information is available about the company, beyond that its primary function is placing these TV-like ads into DVD software, mainly games. The ads play during natural intermissions in the game. Tsunami is partnering with companies that create DVD software for PCs. The software would be bundled with new, DVD-enabled computers.

Regular said his company has the ability to track and serve any kind of ad, from banners and buttons to video-like, rich media ads. Conducent's partner software is free for download from the Web and not DVD-based. Regular said that the company has no immediate plans to go after the DVD market.

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