AdOutlet.com is expected to relaunch its Web site next week with new features designed to make media buying across online, print, television, radio and outdoor channels simpler for buyers and sellers.
Using the site, a media buyer enters a profile describing his company and enters a search profile outlining what type of buys he is looking to make. The database search reveals real inventory that matches the search profile. The buyer is then shown a rate card and can make an offer on the inventory.
For the seller, the system automates the sale of the inventory via channel rules. For example, a rule can be set that only 20 units can be sold to an automotive company, 20 units to a fast food company, etc.
A threshold price is set using a confidential pricing mechanism. A company may have a cost per thousand rate card price of $10 for 10 million impressions across its network, for example, but its threshold price may be $6. Offers below the threshold are rejected, while offers above the price are accepted.
A rule can be set for the seller to review any offer within 20 percent of the threshold price. The buyer receives a message that this is a range the seller would like to consider. The offer is reviewed and is accepted or rejected.
“It's a confidential pricing mechanism,” said Alan Masarek, CEO of AdOutlet, since suppliers have “different prices for the same thing. Only the inventory you designate permissible to be seen by a buyer is in fact seen.
“Media selling is very private. The nature of the Internet is very open, very public. You have to develop a solution where the media company has the exact same control [online] over the inventory that they have today [offline].”
This type of solution is necessary because of the splintering of media outlets such as cable television, the Internet and the burgeoning wireless market.
“It works well in response to the hyper fragmentation that's going on,” Masarek said. “This is an aggregation tool for the buyer.”
The site makes its money according to a per transaction fee set up with the supplier. It is free for the buyer.
Masarek estimates that there are 22 companies in the online media buying space. Two of the site's biggest competitors are OneMediaPlace.com and BuyMedia.com.
Suppliers in AdOutlet's network include CBS Sportsline, MP3.com and Sandbox in online; Money, TV Guide and USA Today in print; Home Shopping Network, Time Warner City Cable and TWA Inflight News in television; Basketball News Weekly, Catholic Family Radio Network and Fanball Radio in radio; and ADCO Outdoor Advertising, Peter Pan Bus Lines and Pinpoint Golf Marketing in outdoor.