Miva Reboots with New Ad Platform

Miva has unveiled plans to revamp its ad management platform, and the changes will include eventual support for ad formats beyond its staple pay-per-click (PPC) text ads.

After a string of acquisitions dating back before 2004 to when Miva operated as FindWhat the media division had found itself with multiple legacy ad management platforms. In the coming year, the company plans a two-stage launch of a system for its advertiser and publisher clients to replace those legacy systems, said Alex Vlasto, senior global director, marketing and communications at Miva.

The first phase is planned for Q4 with the beta release of a platform to replace Miva’s existing Pay-Per-Click systems. In addition to text ads, the system will be able to handle image ads, and to target not just by keywords but by specific sites — features that were not previously available. The new system will include built-in tools for advertisers to run reports, schedule reporting, and run rolled up reports across multiple accounts in the case of an agency.

“For publishers, the two sides of our business, the enhancements we’re seeing on the advertiser side are being mirrored here as well,” said Vlasto.

The second phase will take place in 2009 to allow Miva time to get all of its advertiser and publisher clients trained and migrated to the new system. Vlasto said the company is being careful not to disrupt any client activity, campaigns, or monetization going through its systems. This phase is expected to include additional online ad formats.

While Miva is expanding beyond PPC advertising with this platform upgrade, it is confident the market will support another competitor though it aims to go up against ad-serving platforms such as Google’s DoubleClick division, and Microsoft’s ad serving operations. It will also compete with WPP’s 24/7 Real Media. “We’ve got thousands of advertisers in the U.S. and thousands of publishing partners in the U.S.,” said Vlasto. “The reason we feel that there’s space in the market is we have these relationships already.”

Miva discussed the new platform with its customers before building. “We have sat down with hundreds of advertisers and publishers to really get their feedback,” Vlasto said. “We developed in close conversation with our advertising and publishing partners.”

Consolidation and upgrade of 10 legacy technology platforms into one includes hardware, infrastructure, and resources, which Miva says will deliver savings in the long run. The company isn’t saying how much it is spending on the new platform, but Vlasto said it is a significant investment.

Once each phase has successfully been completed in the U.S. market, it will be implemented in the European market. “Our initial launch is in the U.S., our intention is to follow the U.S. launch with the European launch. We’ll take learnings from the U.S. and apply them to Europe,” said Vlasto.

Last month, Miva, which is based in Fort Myers, FL, forecast its 2008 revenue will total $125 million to $130 million. It also anticipates that EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) at a loss of between $8 million and $12 million, excluding restructuring charges.

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