Accipiter Buys BidClix

Ad serving technology provider Accipiter Solutions has acquired performance-based contextual ad network BidClix. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

BidClix provides a self-service, bid-for-placement marketplace of contextually targeted text ads. Unlike Google’s AdSense, which targets ads by keywords on a page, BidClix follows the model used by Quigo, Seevast’s Pulse360 (formerly Kanoodle), and Marchex’s IndustryBrains, all of which target ads based on a site’s pre-defined category.

Last year, Accipiter began exploring options to build its own bid-for-placement system to offer publishers. Accipiter’s publisher partners said they wanted a tool that would give them control over the advertising on their site and let them serve text ads they sold themselves, but they also wanted an option for back-filling unsold inventory with ads sold by Accipiter or a partner, according to Brian Handly, Accipiter’s CEO.

Since Accipiter’s business was almost exclusively publisher-focused, it became apparent that partnering would make more sense, to take advantage of existing advertiser relationships, he said.

“We’re a technology company, not a media company,” Handly told ClickZ. “The challenge for us was not to build a bid-for-placement system. The real challenge for us was to have ad sales representation for inventory that our publishers were not able to sell themselves.”

To meet that challenge, Accipiter partnered with BidClix last year, launching its AdMarket solution with white-labeled BidClix technology in May 2006. That arrangement revealed cultural and business synergies, as well as publisher response, that led to this acquisition, Handly said.

“Accipiter has had significant demand from our customer and prospect base for the development of a self-service bid-for-placement system that they could leverage to gain more control over their advertiser relationships,” Handly said. “BidClix provides the bid-for-placement system that allows publishers this type of control while still offering backfill capabilities and relationships with thousands of advertisers that our customers can immediately leverage.”

The Accipiter and BidClix systems are two separate technologies, which require users to log in separately for reports and campaign management. At the top of Accipiter’s to-do list is integrating the two systems, with the first phase expected to be complete early next year, Handly said.

The BidClix Advertising Marketplace has over 4,915 registered publishers and 13,846 registered advertisers. It serves 1.1 billion ads per month to about 25 million individuals in the U.S. and international markets. BidClix offers site-specific targeting and broader content channel buys. Text ads are served into several standard ad units, including banners, towers and pop-unders. All BidClix employees will join Accipiter, remaining in BidClix’s Seattle office.

This is one of several moves to develop Accipiter’s ad serving platform into a unified ad platform that can traffic media across all kinds of digital media, Handly said. The company already serves ads in podcasts, RSS feeds, blog sites, streaming audio/video, and mobile platforms, most of which it did through in-house development. There are a few more areas to fill, for which Accipiter is currently exploring acquisition targets, he said.

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