Six top European Internet sites said yesterday they would form an ad-sales alliance to display advertising across all of the sites.
The ad network consists of portals ranking in the top five most-visited sites in the six largest European markets: Wanadoo in France, the Netherlands and Spain; Freeserve in the United Kingdom; Libero in Italy; and Web.de in Germany. Combined, the sites boast a reach of 30 million unique visitors monthly.
The ad network gives companies the chance to advertise collectively across Europe on sites targeted to local users instead of buying ads on the sites individually. The portals' ad network will compete with Internet giants that already have pan-European reach, including Yahoo, Microsoft's MSN and T-Online.
The European online ad market is poised for fast growth in the next five years. According to a forecast released last week by Forrester Research, European online advertising will grow at an annual rate of 12.5 percent over the next five years, nearly doubling to $1.7 billion (1.4 billion euros) in 2008.