Direct Revenue Dons White Hat with New Network Plans

Adware player Direct Revenue is joining the ranks of those building behavioral marketing networks, hoping to leave pop-up ads and bad reputation behind.

The company is developing a new adware application that will be bundled with software publishers’ free offerings. Direct Revenue is starting from scratch building a user base. It says new downloads will comply with strict disclosure and privacy guidelines in compliance with TRUSTe’s new Trusted Download program.

Rather than display pop-up ads on users’ desktops, as Direct Revenue now does, the new, as yet unnamed network — to be launched in the first quarter of next year — will use behavioral data collected by the software to target advertising that appears on publishers’ Web pages. The model is similar to that adopted by competitor Claria for its BehaviorLink network.

“The user won’t see more ads than he would see otherwise, but he will see more relevant ads,” explained Jean Philippe Maheu, Direct Revenue’s CEO. Maheu, formerly the CEO of Web development company Razorfish, joined Direct Revenue in May and has since been trying to turn the company into a legitimate online advertising player.

Direct Revenue is still determining whether it will buy inventory and re-sell to its advertisers, or whether it will split revenue with publisher partners. It plans to start by working with software developer distribution partners that also have Web site advertising inventory to offer. The company is also still determining its pricing model, but says it expects to do CPM, CPC and CPA deals, depending on the advertiser and the offer.

“I think this industry has shown that you don’t want to be stuck in one particular pricing model,” said Maheu.

Maheu says the company’s sales force is just beginning to bring the new network concept to its advertiser and agency clients.

Over the past few months under Maheu, Direct Revenue has taken steps to leave behind questionable practices that had tarnished its reputation. Most notably, In September, it ended third-party affiliate distribution of its adware client, saying it was too difficult to police their methods. It’s also been working with the Network Advertising Initiative and the Center for Democracy and Technology to develop standards for adware players.

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