Medio launches performance-based mobile ad network

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Medio Systems Inc., a provider of mobile search and advertising services, recently launched performance-based Medio MobileNow Ad Network, selling pay-per-click ads for mobile phones.

The network launch is an attempt to bring more accountability to mobile advertising and reach out to marketers who haven't used this growing channel yet. Research firm Informa Telecoms & Media forecasts worldwide spending on mobile advertising to reach more than $11 billion annually by 2011.

"Today, primarily branded advertisers can run mobile ad campaigns and pay the high cost of doing so," said Omar Tawakol, chief advertising officer at Medio, Seattle. "The MobileNow Ad Network's pay-per-performance model opens up the mobile world for advertisers who strive for measurable, response-driven objectives - they set the price they want to pay and only pay for clicks on their ads."

The MobileNow Ad Network determines ad relevance through search behavior, click-through history, user demographics, geography and in-depth behavioral trending analysis.

To ensure precise ad targeting and the consistent delivery of mobile ad campaigns, Medio has deeply integrated the RelevanceServer contextual ad platform that it received as part of last year's acquisition of WebRelevance Inc.

To support the MobileNow Ad Network, Gary Bembridge, former national sales director at MSN, was appointed head of U.S. advertising sales for the company.

The company, which also has expertise in traditional search, aims to make the mobile search experience different from Web searching.

"Because of the size of the mobile screen and the immediacy of the phone, the results to a mobile search [are] more driven by answers and not pages of links," Mr. Tawakol said.

Ads will appear on participating wireless operator decks and across a network of independent off-deck properties to maximize campaign reach.

"Medio currently provides top wireless operators like T-Mobile, TELUS Mobility and Amp'd Mobile with white-label search and recommendation technologies that deliver highly relevant answers to subscribers' search queries," Mr. Tawakol said. "The same technological advances drive the precision ad targeting that power the Medio MobileNow Ad Network."

Medio expects that several advertising partnerships with other wireless operators will become public in the next 90 days.

Medio will share ad revenues with participating independent mobile site owners, creating new incremental revenue streams from serving targeted ads.

The compny will handle ad sales, process targeted ad delivery and offer online reports for the site owners.

Medio recently announced a partnership with Ingenio Inc. to feature Ingenio pay-per-call listings within the Medio MobileNow Ad Network. This enables marketers to pay for advertising only when consumers initiate a call from their cell phones.

"The mobile phone is an indispensable device and more and more people are turning to their phones to look for answers on the go," Mr. Tawakol said.

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