Revenue Science Pairs Behavioral Targeting with Exchange Model

Revenue Science has gone a step beyond the behavioral targeting network model by implementing an exchange platform for connecting advertisers with publishers. The company has been awarded a U.S. Patent for a technology that serves behaviorally-targeted ads on behalf of the highest bidding advertisers.

Most ad exchanges, such as Microsoft’s AdECN and Yahoo’s Right Media, allow media buyers to place bids and publishers to offer inventory by using their exchange interfaces themselves; however Revenue Science’s exchange technology is for use behind the scenes by the company alone, for now.

“With behavioral targeting, it’s a lot more complicated at this time,” said Revenue Science CTO Basem Nayfeh. “But that’s definitely where we’re headed,” he added, referring to the potential of opening the auction-based exchange interface to the entities actually making the transaction, the publishers and the advertisers.

All audience-based targeting will be implemented through an ad exchange model in the future, predicted Nayfeh.

With the introduction of the exchange element, the behavioral targeting network sector seems to be getting even more complicated than before. For instance, Right Media, which runs an ad exchange of its own, has partnered with Revenue Science, enabling publishers using Right Media’s ad network management tool to sell inventory to Revenue Science’s network.

Another competitor in the behavioral network space, AlmondNet, also works with exchanges sometimes.

Revenue Science, like other behavioral ad networks, collects data gleaned on user behavior with network sites and non-network sites and determines which users might be in-market for a car or a mortgage loan, for instance. When a user in the desired audience segment returns to a site in the network, the user is recognized by the ad serving platform and served a targeted ad based on previous interactions with that site, such as viewing content about a particular travel destination.

“We’re looking at augmenting in many ways the publisher business,” said Nayfeh, referring to a service the firm provides to site publisher partners including ABCNews, IAC Interactive Corp, Newsweek and Terra.com. That service targets ads to a particular site or group of sites owned by a publisher, based on data collected on that site or group of sites.

While Revenue Science has chosen to continue offering this publisher-side service, its competitor Tacoda ejected itself from its own site-side business last year, in order to focus on its behavioral targeting network.

Currently, the Revenue Science network, or “marketplace,” encompasses over 4,000 sites representing about 120 million unique visitors each month. The company would not name publishers in the network, although it has opened its exchange to its site-side publisher clients.

The patent awarded to Revenue Science in November is for “accepting bids to advertise to users performing a specific activity,” according to the patent abstract posted on the U.S. Patent Office Web site. The technology serves behaviorally-targeted ads on behalf of the highest bidding advertiser to users fitting their target criteria. The firm has been awarded over 10 patents and has filed for about 50, said Nayfeh.

Though some firms have gone after alleged patent infringers with lawsuits, Revenue Science doesn’t have plans to do so at this time, said Nayfeh. “It’s too early to tell how this will manifest itself,” he said, also noting the company isn’t currently planning to charge licensing fees for use of the patented technology.

Notably, Tacoda was slapped with a suit in August by relative-unknown Modavox, which claims Tacoda has violated its patent on a “Method and System for Adding Function to a Web Page.”

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