Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive (WPNI) has formally rolled out a blog ad network, dubbed Blogroll, to appeal to niche marketers and generate targeted, saleable inventory. The network, which launches with Lufthansa as an initial sponsor of its travel-centric blogs, will generate exposure for participating sites through rotating spots on the WashingtonPost.com home page.
WPNI tapped vertical ad network platform Adify to power Blogroll. Adify promises to let the client accept advertising that's much more focused than that available through larger, more opaque networks. For advertisers, the Blogroll represents an easy way to target specific audiences.
"At the Washington Post, they recognize there is a lot of great content on the blogosphere," said Adify CEO and co-founder Larry Braitman. Selling ads on those blogs is "a very powerful opportunity, but the challenges of doing it are very high," he added. "WashingtonPost.com has been around for years and it has established teams for advertising. But when they're going to serve advertising across a network of 1,500 blogs, there's a whole new set of challenges."
By using Adify's "Build Your own Network" platform, WPNI can focus on building the Blogroll ranks and publicizing the network through advertising. "We do everything else," said Braitman. "We do the ad serving and the account management. We do billing and payment. We do customer support."
Jeff Burkett, director of business development for WPNI, said in a statement that outsourcing the daunting task of provisioning and managing advertising for Blogroll was a way for WPNI to remain focused on its core competency. "This type of endeavor -- combining our ad space with that of third-party publishers into new ad units -- is a media industry first and we sought a partner that could remove the complexity of quickly getting it off the ground," he said.
Earlier this week, WPNI announced Lufthansa as the launch advertiser for travel blogs in the network.
Adify's system was formally launched at the Web 2.0 Conference in November, though the firm first began enabling vertical network last summer. The company says nearly a dozen specialized ad networks have launched using its platform, in topic areas ranging from VFW sites to extreme sports to tax management. Braitman and Richard Thompson created the San Bruno, Calif.-based company in 2005.
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