I/Pro Launches SpotSite Ad Exchange

Online audience measurement provider I/Pro has launched an advertising marketplace to aggregate ad space across publishers. The inventory is targetable based on the firm’s site research data.

SpotSite, which I/Pro calls a “research-driven marketplace,” is not an ad network per se, but rather an online exchange where media buyers can find inventory across several sites that meet their buying requirements.

“Spotsite is an online ad marketplace or exchange that matches media buyers and advertisers with ‘Long Tail’ sites with similar demographics,” Allan Kaplan, president and CEO of I/Pro, told ClickZ. “We aggregate content and qualify it.”

I/Pro qualifies sites in three ways: with census-based reach and frequency analyses; with site-centric demographic and psychographic surveys; and with content-filtering technology to categorize sites and weed out inappropriate content.

In the past, I/Pro focused on the “qualifying” part of that equation, creating demographic reports and behavioral audits for smaller sites that weren’t served by larger market research tools.

Over the past year, I/Pro has evolved its product offering to take advantage of the data it was already collecting for its clients to create a place where media buyers could go to find sites meeting their criteria. It created a Web interface and workflow designed to match the online media buying process, Kaplan said, allowing advertisers to search for inventory by several different criteria, including by demographic or traffic data, by content type, or by specific ad units available.

“Our research creates targeting opportunities for sites, and we’re helping them leverage those opportunities,” he said.

I/Pro does not set pricing, but simply helps buyers find sellers with ad inventory that meets their criteria. The company charges advertisers a processing fee, which is generally less than the fees of ad networks, Kaplan said.

Many of I/Pro’s research clients are offering at least some of their inventory through SpotSite. They can set rules for the kinds of ad units, as well as the nature of advertising they’ll accept. Besides the benefits of being matched up with buyers, publishers benefit by getting free site research from I/Pro when they participate in SpotSite.

There’s no exclusivity to the relationships, so publishers can sell their own ads or use an ad network to sell some inventory in addition to SpotSite. Smaller publishers are more likely to offer most of their inventory through SpotSite, Kaplan said.

“A lot of smaller sites using our service are using this as their premium channel, since they’re not capable of selling on their own, or getting the mindshare of media buyers. In aggregate, more doors are open for them,” Kaplan said.

I/Pro expects SpotSite to appeal more to brand advertisers, with a network that’s currently heavy on tech and entertainment sites. Publishers with inventory in SpotSite include Ain’t It Cool News, Autotrader, Bloomberg and Sony’s Grouper.com

SpotSite has just come out of beta, and the company is currently ramping up its sales efforts with offices in New York and San Francisco.

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