IAR Bits and Bytes

AffTrack: Hybrid Deals on the Rise

Web ad revenue tracking firm AffTrack said that it’s finding a silver lining to the online advertising downturn: increased publisher attraction to hybrid- and performance-based deals.

The Chicago-based firm said that performance-based sales revenue among its clients saw a sizable 79 percent upswing in November and December.

That stands in marked contrast to what’s happening in the industry at large, which predominantly trades in impression-based deals. According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, industry-wide ad revenue was down 8.4 percent during the first three quarters of 2001, versus a year earlier.

To AffTrack, which services clients including RealNames, LookSmart and the Excite Network, the results suggest that media outlets might be better served by moving some of their impression-based inventory over to deals with cost-per-action (CPA) performance guarantees.

Shifting away from cost-per-thousand (CPM) pricing is a controversial issue for many Web publishers, many of whom view the Internet as a branding medium, like television, which can’t be packaged using direct-response metrics, like CPA.

“Indeed, spending in the online ad business is not what it once was; however, innovative publishers and Web properties have moved quickly to embrace both pure performance and hybrid models — strategies involving a ‘blending’ of traditional eyeball-oriented and direct response buys,” said AffTrack chief executive Scott McNulty. “Those who do not adapt to the dynamics of the Internet are sure to suffer and, perhaps, perish. Our clients are clearly ahead of the pack.”

ClubMom Taps Kowabunga Marketing

Affinity group/incentive marketer ClubMom.com has pulled its well-regarded affiliate program in-house, parting ways with BeFree in favor of software from Kowabunga Marketing.

The New York-based site — perhaps best-known for co-founder/spokesperson Meredith Vieira, co-host of the daytime talk show “The View” — said Kowabunga’s MyAffiliateProgram provided for better support and reporting for affiliates.

Additionally, using MyAffiliateProgram, ClubMom offers a wider variety of linking options for affiliates beyond banners and text links, including articles, checklists, redirect pages, pop-ups, pop-unders and dynamic text links.

The site had used BeFree since the program’s inception in March 2000.

The change highlights the rift in the online advertising world between in-house solutions like Kowabunga’s, and ASP-based products, like BeFree. Outside of the affiliate space, similar battles are being waged between 24/7 Real Media’s OpenAdStream software and DoubleClick’s DART.

Proponents of in-house solutions typically point to factors like greater control over data and affiliate relations. Meanwhile, supporters of the ASP-based network model maintain their systems provide greater ease-of-use and built-in marketing opportunities, which attract new affiliates — and hopefully, more revenue.

Alcatel’s Genesys to Get Eloquent

San Mateo, Calif.-based Eloquent signed Alcatel subsidiary Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories to its Web-based sales optimization solution, LaunchForce.

Genesys, which manufactures CRM technology, serves more than 2,000 customers via direct and indirect sales channels. The San Francisco-based firm will use LaunchForce to provide employees and channel partners access to sales information like customer and partner product demonstrations, pricing data, and training and resource materials.

LaunchForce also tracks the use of assets contained in its system — which helps management monitor and gauge the effectiveness of the information it’s providing to sales staffs.

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