WebSideStory Shuts Down its HitBox Banner Ad-Serving Network

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WebSideStory Inc., a provider of real-time Web site measurement and tracking services, yesterday shut down its HitBox Banner Network, ad-serving service.


The company said the HBN was an experiment that no longer fits into its enterprise strategy.


The HBN, an affiliate network that the company said served more than 100 million impressions a month, was an adjunct service to WebSideStory's free HitBox ad serving and tracking service. The service provided Web site owners with free statistics, including traffic and page view patterns.


According to Erik Bratt, WebSideStory's media relations manager, the San Diego company shuttered the service because it wasn't cost-effective.


"It was one of our low-end services," Bratt said. "The whole ad serving model is a small part of our business. We weren't even selling ads for our own services."


Bratt explained that the HBN had about 7,000 affiliate Web sites and that it served third-party ads. He also said the network represented less than 1 percent of WebSideStory's overall business.


In a letter to affiliates, WebSideStory said it would shut the HBN down on Feb. 15 and it would no longer pay affiliates for banners served to their sites.


The company would pay affiliates quarterly, providing the affiliate earned at least $25 in the period. They could be paid as much as $5,000 in a single month, WebSideStory said. When banner space went unsold, the company would serve a house banner.


Affiliates were only paid when a "unique visitor on their Web site clicks through to an advertiser's Web site." WebSideStory paid affiliates 10 cents per qualified click.


The company also said that affiliates would still receive statistics and other HitBox services. Some affiliates will receive a free WebSideStory button for their Web site, Bratt said, while others will be converted to the company's HitBox Enterprise service, designed for high-traffic sites.


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