Alternative Partnering Options

We’ve been writing for weeks about the difficult but strategically essential task of selecting the right ad sales partner. Our focus has been on the decision process the site publisher must go through in making a good partnership; including the questions to ask yourself even before you start talking to potential partners. Though we’ve referred to some of the better known ad networks and rep firms by way of example, the intent was never to provide a comprehensive list of all the firms providing Internet ad sales services.

Frankly, the field changes so quickly, and even the specific offerings of any given firm evolve so regularly, that we find it impossible to offer a list that would still be accurate by the time it’s published.

Still, the steady stream of email indicates that some staffers at ad networks feel they’ve been overlooked, and some advertisers and sites wanted to be sure their favorites were mentioned. So today we’ll mention some additional options site publishers might want to be aware of when screening for the right sales firm. No promises of catching them all, but we’ll at least expand the available considerations.

We’ve already mentioned the biggest and best-known firms: Doubleclick, 24/7 Media, AdSmart, RealMedia, AdAuction, Flycast, Burst! and Cybereps.

Some newer entrants on the sales scene include: Teknosurf, aiming to serve the needs of the smaller site publisher; Latitude90, focusing on consultative sales beyond the banner; and B2Bworks, developed to meet the specialized sales needs of the business to business site publisher and advertiser.

How does this next generation ad sales company differ?

Each of these appears to be focused on niches left uncovered by the original entrants. Latitude90 hangs its reputation on the ability to work closely and consultatively with a small number of premium sites, closer to the rep firm model than an ad network.

This can be great for the publisher if they handle a stable of premium clients that are a good fit with your site. If they stay with this model, they will be very choosy about which sites they handle, and few new partners will be added. Many of today’s larger ad networks started out with as selective a model, so it will be interesting to watch and see how Latitude90’s business evolves.

At the other end of the spectrum is Teknosurf, a new alternative for the smaller site publisher. Teknosurf offers cost-per-action buys to advertisers and pays publishers a share of the CPA revenue. Teknosurf offers incremental advertising revenues to publishers too small for the larger networks, while providing a compelling buy for the price-sensitive advertiser.

This value focus is not unlike that of LinkExchange; the original banner exchange network focused on enabling small business to promote itself online.

B2Bworks takes a totally different approach, targeting high value, industry-specific buys in a wide range of business to business markets. Given the increased attention on b-to-b all over the web, this could become a very large business. And a possible fit for all the business-focused web sites whose inventory is not fully valued by the large consumer-oriented networks.

These firms don’t represent all of the ways you can sell your ad inventory, but they do represent some of the more interesting emerging business models for Internet ad sales. Know of any you think we should look into? Let us know at janet@jmryan.com.

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