Kanoodle Starts Self-Service Contextual Ad Program

Kanoodle announced the launch yesterday of a self-service contextual advertising platform to compete with Google's AdSense.

Like AdSense, New York-based Kanoodle's BrightAds tool lets small Web publishers add contextual ad links to their sites by inserting a string of HTML code into their Web pages. Publishers can customize how the ads appear, choosing to display up to five listings per ad unit. Kanoodle splits the revenue evenly with publishers.

BrightAds expands on Kanoodle's ContextTarget ad platform, which displays contextual paid listings on CBS MarketWatch.com, MSNBC.com and USAToday.com.

“We know there are some high-quality small publishers out there, and we want to give them the opportunity to take advantage of the contextual targeting we have for larger publishers,” said Doug Perlson, senior vice president and general manager of Kanoodle.

Kanoodle hopes to persuade publishers to dump AdSense by addressing some complaints it has heard from publishers. Unlike Google, Kanoodle reveals the revenue split with publishers upfront. Kanoodle also serves only paid ads while Google sometimes displays public service links that do not generate revenue.

The release of BrightAds comes days after FindWhat.com launched another contextual listings product, AdRevenue Xpress. Google rival Overture also offers a contextual listings product, Content Match. Other smaller and specialized players include IndustryBrains and Quigo.

Google and Kanoodle have taken different approaches to determining the most relevant listing for a Web page. Google uses its algorithmic search technology to scan each content page for its context, while Kanoodle maps Web sites into topic categories. Kanoodle's 35,000 advertisers bid for listings in more than 700 categories, rather than on keywords.

“This combines the best of both worlds of editorial mapping and a scalable technology,” Perlson said.

For advertisers, Perlson said, BrightAds should mean the same high-quality leads they get from ContextTarget, only more. Kanoodle will not offer an option for advertisers to opt out of their links appearing on BrightAds sites.

“If we do it right, then the quality of the network should remain consistent,” he said. Perlson added that Kanoodle probably would reject half of the sites that apply for BrightAds for not meeting quality standards.

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