In Wake of FreeInternet Bust, Adwise Nets Free ISP Deal

Ad network and server Adwise announced a deal with ISP/portal Germany.net Monday, in which the Internet site will tap Adwise’s clickstream-based serving, targeting, and optimization platform for its free, advertising-supported access.

The idea behind Adwise’s technology is that ISPs and other service providers can target and serve ads to their customers, no matter what content they are looking at on the Internet.

“Adwise provides us with the unique set of capabilities required by a fast-growing Internet service provider such as Germany.net,” said Germany.net chief executive Thomas Gotz. “This alliance helps us in building a strong business while providing an excellent surfing experiences to subscribers at very attractive rates.”

Despite widely publicized difficulties experienced by companies offering ad-sponsored browsing — most notably, with the closure of FreeInternet — Germany.net and Adwise don’t seem daunted. One of the reasons may be that the Germany.net has deep pockets — the company is one of the largest ISPs in Germany, and is a unit of Mannesmann Arcor AG, one of Germany’s largest telecom firms.

Secondly, the Silicon Alley-based Adwise — which also has an R&D office in Israel — plans to include ISP partnerships, like its deal with Germany.net, as its standard M.O.

“We are partnering with all access providers including backbone providers, ISPs, wireless, etc.,” said Adwise co-founder and chief technology officer Yaron Buznach.

Buznach also waved away the idea that free Internet access might be a thing of the past — at least, when his company is in the mix.

“Adwise’s new paradigm will significantly change the economics of the free, as well as all other, access providers,” he said. “There is a big discrepancy between the Internet as a medium — 9 to 10 percent — and the percent of advertising budgets going to Internet media. This gap is due to the inability of current technologies to offer advertisers an effective ROI. We believe this gap will be closed by new technologies such as the Adwise solution.”

The company differentiates its ad-serving platform by a non-profile targeting system that uses artificial intelligence based on clickthroughs recorded through ISP-level technology.

“Adwise uses real-time behavioral targeting fed by network-level [that is, from ISP records] information,” Buznach said. “The Adwise solution was designed for Internet access providers.” That’s unlike profiling ad serving firms like CMGI’s Engage, which tracks users through cookies, which work on a Web site-level recording system.

Buznach also said that the company discards clickthrough data after the ad has been served.

“Adwise analyzes click-stream data only in real-time and then discards the data. We do not collect or store any click-stream data. We do not need to save this data to achieve strong results for clients and advertisers. For example, if a person visits two or three sports related web sites, we do not need to know his or her demographic profile to come to the conclusion that they are interested in sports.”

He also declined to comment on whether the company had future plans to retain and monetize consumer data. The additional revenue this brings has lured several consumer sites like Snowball.com, and free ISPs like NetZero, into selling research based on user analysis.

“Adwise is currently researching this as an option, but only if we can maintain Adwise’s strict policy of protecting user privacy,” Buznach said. “We are committed to making the media as effective as possible for our clients while still maintaining our strong privacy policy.

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