Pulse 360 unveils Publisher's Vertical Network

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Pulse 360 Inc., a sponsored-links company, has unveiled its Publisher's Vertical Network, a service designed to help publishers compete against major advertising networks for a share of inventory.

The PVN allows publishers to bring together thousands of smaller sites within its own branded ad network and represent this inventory as well as syndicate content. It also enables publishers to receive immediate access to a larger inventory to sell to advertisers, drive traffic and generate revenue.

"The PVN address two compelling issues," said Lance D. Podell, CEO of Seevast, the parent company of Pulse 360. "Large publishers in verticals have as much inventory as their editors can produce. But the advertising market is very hot and publishers would like to have more reach to offer their advertisers."

Mr. Podell said leading brand publishers would like to build networks or "neighborhoods" with the sites to take the branded elements of larger publishers and add legitimacy to the smaller sites.

"Large publishers have great access to video, news and weather that the smaller guys can't produce on their own," he said. "But if they could get these encapsulated videos on their sites, their small sites would get more robust and more ad revenue would be added."

According to Mr. Podell, Google has become a "10-ton gorilla, stepping on the toes of the large brands in each vertical that rightly deserve the spoils of all the value in that vertical because they have something to contribute."

As a result, small publishers are bound by sponsored-links revenue. However, there should be more opportunities for them to access content and other kinds of ad revenue, he said.

"For small publishers, there is [Google] AdSense, which offers sponsored-links revenue," Mr. Podell said. "However, it doesn't offer a part in a community or access to other ad channels. Large publishers who have accepted this network of smaller publishers have lost ground to Google, which has ownership over those small publishers yet has no real rights to that ownership because they don't provide any added value to those publishers, other than ad revenue.

"One of the nice things is that we offer publishers that Google doesn't is a non-competitive presence - we're a non-competitive threat as a partner," he said. "For advertisers it opens up much more inventory, which is what they are always asking for."

Pulse 360 does not consider itself to have major competition in its niche market. Mr. Podell said that although Google and Yahoo were the "10-ton gorillas," they were also a competitive threat that focus on so many things that they could not be great at absolutely everything.

"We're much stronger here and have deep publisher and advertiser relationships," Mr. Podell said. "We think our approach to the market is the right one: give publishers what they need, and that generally has provided advertisers added benefit of being able to reach more customers."

Going forward, Pulse 360 is starting to work with advertisers to look at creatives differently by putting more story-like messaging in place rather than a couple of lines of sales copy.

"Advertisers are getting bored with sponsored links, frankly - not from us but from the industry," Mr. Podell said. "They've asked us to innovate in that space right now. We had to open up the creative valve pipe to look at inventory differently to meet the advertisers' challenges."

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