Start-Up Debuts Wireless Ad Network

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Windwire -- a start-up wireless Web ad serving company -- debuted this month, claiming it will build a network of more than 20 sites.


The company has signed Nando Media, a 24-hour wireless news service, and Alerts.com, a wireless reminder service. It also has signed an agreement with M2K, a full-service interactive advertiser. Windwire said it has additional deals pending, but it would not disclose specifics.


The company said its network would enable advertisers, content providers and wireless service providers to serve banner ads, interstitials, coupon-based promotions and affiliate marketing campaigns over any wireless device, including cellular phones, handheld computers and two-way pagers. The service can target ads based on the site a consumer is visiting, time of day or a consumer's geographic location.


"Wireless devices are always with you and always on. We can target consumers via wireless with an ad from a store when they are 10 feet from the point of purchase," said Sean Harrison, president/CEO of Windwire, Morrisville, NC.


The firm also can work directly with WSPs to create private-label, opt-in profiling questionnaires, allowing Windwire to serve ads to consumers through portal or affiliate sites based on the consumers' interests, gender and age. The firm said it does not share the consumer profiling data or names with advertisers.


The company launched in response to advertiser demand for a way to reach the growing wireless audience, said David Spitz, vice president and chief technology officer at Windwire. "Advertisers tell us that if we have got the inventory, they've got the demand," he said.


Windwire also plans to provide an opt-in service, labeled Fast Track, to local retailers, enabling them to broadcast ads to consumers within a 10-mile radius of their place of business. Harrison hopes to form partnerships with news, weather, sports and finance content providers, but he said it is too early to provide details.


The Windwire network will charge primarily on a varying cost-per-thousand basis. The firm also is open to cost-per-click and revenue sharing arrangements, Spitz said. "We will not pay consumers per click like some other traditional online networks," he said. "In a pay-per-click arrangement, you never know if the consumer is really interested or just wants the 25-cent compensation."
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