Are You Being Served?
iTraffic outsources the technology functions to an ad-serving firm to ensure that the ad is delivered when and to whom they specified.
"When you're an advertiser, you need a system to track your ad, because you're paying for each one," explains Roy de Souza, CEO of Zedo. "You can't just create an ad and e-mail it to a site; [the site] could e-mail you back and say 'I've served a million, please send me a check.' The question is, were the ads served, and, more importantly, were they served at the right time, and the right place and the right date?"
Ad-serving technology verifies these important aspects.
Zedo offers clients a self-service Web interface for the managing and tracking of campaigns.
Another option is to license ad-serving technology. Interactive marketing company 24/7 Real Media both serves ads and does licensing. Companies like Playboy.com and Weather.com run 24/7 Real Media's Open AdStream tool in house.
The decision to license is mostly a factor of company size, says David Moore, chairman and CEO of 24/7 Real Media. "The companies who license our technology tend to be fairly successful Web companies. … It's the smaller sites that can't afford their own sales force who seek our help in monetizing their site overall."
Selecting the media your ads will be served to is another important consideration. There are two schools of thought on this subject, which revolve around the fact that some ad-serving companies—like 24/7 and DoubleClick—also have proprietary media networks.
You can get good deals on affiliated media; but the potential for conflict of interest exists.
"If you go directly to ad servers," says iTraffic's Nachtaler, "they're going to end up giving you what serves them best—they're going to want to sell you their own media. It's not the best way to be buying media at all."