USAToday.com has begun using IndustryBrains to power a paid listings marketplace for travel advertisers.
Advertisers looking to promote travel packages to USAToday.com visitors can bid for placement in an auction operated by IndustryBrains. In addition to a 250-word description, advertisers can include a 60 x 60 pixel thumbnail image, such as a photograph of a resort or hotel. IndustryBrains editors review each listing for relevance.
The listings will run on content pages in USAToday.com's travel section, as well as in its “Specials & Deals” area. Visitors to Specials & Deals can narrow their search by geography or type of travel package. USAToday.com will promote some listings through its twice-a-week Specials & Deals e-mail newsletter.
The minimum bid for USAToday.com Travel Specials is 30 cents. Advertisers can target their listings through geographic location and category, such as air or cruises. Advertisers pay only when users click on their listings. Terms of the revenue split between USAToday.com and IndustryBrains were not disclosed.
IndustryBrains is one of a few performance-based contextual advertising programs looking to challenge Google's popular AdSense platform. USAToday.com's site already displays paid listings from IndustryBrains in its technology and money sections.
The site also shows listings from Kanoodle, another AdSense rival. Kanoodle has signed up distribution deals with MSNBC.com and CBS MarketWatch.
IndustryBrains has deals to run listings on BusinessWeek Online, as well as technology sites like Infoworld, ComputerWorld, and PC Magazine. By focusing on narrower audience segments, IndustryBrains is able to offer publishers with valuable audiences to garner a higher price per click from marketers than listings with Google, which appear on thousands of Web sites.
Another small company, Quigo, is looking to chip away at Google's hold in niche areas with more valuable leads. The New York paid listings company in June launched a contextual paid listings network called AdSonar that targets the health, travel and education industries.