PointRoll to Launch “Takeover”-Style Unit

Rich media startup PointRoll is aiming to take on “takeover” ad firms with a new out-of-banner advertising product in its lineup.

The Philadelphia-based firm is best known for its Java- and DHTML-based drop-down banner ads, which expand when a user moves his mouse over them. So far, the company has met with success in getting its ad technology approved by major publishers including iWon.com and Yahoo , the latter of which most recently has run PointRoll ads for automaker Infiniti.

Now, PointRoll hopes to see its new FreeForm format take off in a similar fashion. The unit is similar to offerings by firms like eyeblaster and United Virtualities, maker of the Shoshekele. All three firms’ ads can cover a Web page’s entire viewable area with animation. Typically, most ads created using the formats run for a couple of seconds before shrinking into a banner or skyscraper on the same page.

But in a departure from many such “takeover” ads, the PointRoll format is designed to only run after users have moved their mouse over a banner. As PointRoll sees it, the resulting ad is less intrusive than auto-loading “takeover” ads, yet just as effective.

“Our clients have communicated a need to deliver flashier content to attract the user and we know that FreeForms will allow creative developers the opportunity to be creative and deliver an ad with impact,” said PointRoll Chief Executive Jules Gardner. “Our mission is to replace page-based ads with PointRoll interactive ads, and FreeForms allows our interactive ads to be more compelling for both the advertiser and publisher. We continue to deliver ads that don’t require users to click to learn more about the advertiser’s offerings.”

Additionally, because the ads begin on a page in a standard ad unit — a banner, for instance — they can be trafficked with the same relative ease as those units.

Rich media formats, which recent industry studies have shown to be more compelling than static ads, continue to see increasing attention from advertisers and publishers. DoubleClick , for instance, reported last week that it had seen about 27 percent more rich media ads on its network in November and December, after releasing a software add-on that simplified trafficking for the formats.

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