‘Atlas Rich Media’ Arrives

AQuantive’s Atlas Solutions unwrapped its long anticipated rich media platform today. The offering, called Atlas Rich Media, becomes part of the company’s ad management technology suite.

The platform promises to integrate rich media authoring, delivery, and reporting into advertisers’ and agencies’ other digital marketing efforts. It includes versions of most dominant rich formats, including expanding, floating, transitional, video, and custom units.

The launch allows the aQuantive unit to go up against DoubleClick’s Motif product, which has a two-year head start. Motif struggled early on to gain publisher buy-in but appears to have picked up some momentum recently. CheckM8 also offers a combined rich media authoring and ad-serving product.

Atlas acquired the underlying capabilities for the platform when it bought Israel-based Ad4Ever in May 2004. That purchase brought authoring, testing, and infrastructural capabilities, along with a four-year track record of supporting campaigns in Europe and elsewhere.

Atlas executives point to Ad4Ever’s proven background as the main advantage the offering has over rival Motif, which was built from scratch.

“We’re seeing some traction in the market for Motif. That’s something we leverage. It really takes a while to learn how to do this stuff. It took them two years,” said Jos Stella, director of product marketing for Atlas.

Today’s release follows a long beta period during which Atlas used the tools to support client campaigns on sites such as About.com and the big three portals. Approximately 250 total sites now accept Atlas formats. America Online, MSN, and Yahoo work with the units on a campaign-by-campaign basis only and have yet to formally certify the platform. Clients already using it include agencies Crispin Porter + Bogusky and Real Branding.

Unlike products offered by boutique rich media vendors such as Klipmart, PointRoll, and Eyeblaster, the units are named generically. Stella said he believes there will continue to be a place for these specialized players, who offer customized solutions and creative support.

“Atlas’ approach to the market is 90/10. We’re focused on the 90 percent [who don’t have specialized needs from rich media]. This is why the boutique shops will always be there,” he said.

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