DoubleClick Debuts Unsold-Inventory Exchange

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DoubleClick is expected today to debut an exchange network enabling Web publishers to swap unsold inventory and place house ads on one another's sites.


The network, labeled MediaMatch, uses DoubleClick's Dynamic Advertising Reporting and Targeting ad management system to deliver and track transactions.


"When we presented this new network to our clients, they simply said it makes sense," said Jonathan Heller, vice president of business and product management at DoubleClick, New York. "This idea is not the philosopher stone or the holy grail, but it serves a need for publishers."


An estimated 75 percent of online ad inventory goes unsold, resulting in a lot of house ads.


"Why would a publisher place an ad about its services on its own site, when it could use the ad to attract new customers on other publisher sites?" Heller said.


Of the 500 most visited ad-supported sites, 179 companies devoted a total of more than 17 billion impressions to house ads between January 2000 and April 2000, according to figures published in June by AdRelevance, an online ad-tracking service. AdRelevance's research also reported that $26 million of potential online ad space goes unsold every week.


"DoubleClick has found an easy way to allow publishers to use unsold inventory to inexpensively drive traffic to their site by swapping impressions," said Jim Nail, analyst at Forrester Research, Cambridge, MA. "No one else offers this type of exchange because there is not much money to be made in it, but DoubleClick already had the technology to develop the system. I think the new product will simply be used as a customer acquisition tool for the company."


DoubleClick has run beta tests with NYDailyNews.com, HotJobs.com and iVillage.com, Heller said, declining to name any other clients. He also would not disclose sales or marketing goals for the new product.


The MediaMatch network enables publishers to exchange banner house ads with other publishers on the network at an exchange fee of 95 cents per thousand impressions in addition to the DART serving fee, which Heller would not disclose. Publishers can increase or decrease the number of impressions served across the network on a daily basis.


Ads exchanged on the network are a one-to-one exchange. "If a publisher requests 1 million impressions, it must give up 1 million impressions to other publishers on its own Web site," said Josh Nova, spokesman at DoubleClick.


Publishers using MediaMatch must serve their ads across a network of sites divided into categories, including business, finance and career; entertainment, news and music; search engines and portals; technology; women, family and health; e-commerce, shopping, travel and auto; sports and recreation; and chat and mail. Network users may omit any two categories when serving house ads, Heller said. Also, any publisher on the network can block individual ads from being served on its site.


Heller said he is unaware of any competitors offering a similar unsold-inventory exchange. "Other ad networks don't have the critical mass that we do to offer this type of exchange," he said.


DoubleClick hopes to leverage its 1,270 clients using the DART for Publishers and AdServer technology to this new network.
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