E-mail ads are auctionable with EO

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List management firm Datran Media today debuted EO.com, a real-time market exchange that enables advertisers to bid for cost-per-acquisition e-mail media distribution.

The EO exchange lets marketers bid for placement, calculate performance and compete for media much like managing paid search campaigns. Datran Media has built the e-mail inventory channel by letting list management services and publishers release inventory through inventory management platform StormPost, and through access to its affiliate network NetMargin.

"Advertisers will now be able to control payout in real time knowing how it compares in the category," said Matt Keiser, president of Datran Media, New York. "In paid search you can see how you rank, but this has never been done before in e-mail."

The publisher or list firm offering the inventory determines what the e-mail inventory is, because these companies have the regular e-mailing relationship with the consumers.

For example, if a publisher like Excite mails to opted-in consumers three times a week, but is only sending a message itself once a week, it can sell the other two opportunities to a marketer like the New York Times. The e-mail then comes through with an Excite 'from' address and an e-mail message from the New York Times.

"Remnant e-mail just means unsold, it doesn't mean less valuable," said Sean O'Neal, chief marketing officer of Datran Media.

The marketer gives Datran the campaign content and pays based on the demand similar to buying keywords. The EO has a real-time tool that functions like a stock exchange, where marketers can measure performance based on a click-through score, a conversion score and a payout score (bid-per-conversion score).

Within the tool, marketers see how they perform against competitors and play with these numbers to predict which areas will increase sales. For example, a marketer can see if paying $5 more per e-mail for placement will increase conversions.

EO is integrated with compliance technologies, including UnsubCentral and LashBack, which aim at following best practices across all campaigns. Customers who have unsubscribed from a specific marketer's e-mails will remain unsubscribed if that marketer partners with a publisher who has the same name on the list.

Publishers have the final approval on marketers sending to their e-mail inventory.

Customer data is constantly aggregated to send relevant messaging. The publisher's customer data remains private.

The EO platform is performance-based, letting marketers pay on a cost-per-acquisition, cost-per-lead or cost-per-sale basis.

Datran Media client IAC/InterActiveCorp was given early access to the new EO marketplace.

"Until now, marketers benefiting from efficiency in search and display have not had the same advantages across e-mail," said Richard Stalzer, president of IAC Advertising Solutions. "Publishers like IAC have faced similar challenges. EO knocks down this barrier and is exactly what the market has been waiting for."

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