ThomasB2B Expands Ad Network

ThomasB2B.com expects to announce plans this week to distribute ads from its business-to-business advertising network via news release service PRWeb.

Ads will appear on PRWeb’s freely distributed news releases, targeted by business category. PRWeb will update its submission form to enable indexing of each submitted release according to ThomasB2B’s 10,000-category business classification system. Relevant sponsored text ads will be served by ThomasB2B’s pay-per-click ad network, based on both the ThomasB2B classification and the search query used to arrive at the page.

Advertisers bid on a per-click price in a desired category, using FindWhat’s bid management technology, licensed by ThomasB2B. Advertisers can view traffic counts for each category before placing their bids.

Bids start at $0.25 per click, which is higher than the minimum bids on Google or Overture. Dan Savage, CEO of ThomasB2B.com, said this isn’t an attempt to artificially inflate the costs, but a necessity to convince distribution partners that joining the network will be profitable, as most of ThomasB2B’s partners aren’t high-traffic sites.

Savage asserts ThomasB2B’s prices are still a bargain, especially for businesses that want to bid on keywords with more than one meaning. An industrial pump advertiser, for example, would compete on other search engines with retailers selling women’s shoes, so the price per click would be artificially high, he said.

“When you have a term that has a consumer meaning as well as a business meaning, nine times out of 10 on a consumer search site, it’s going to be intended as a consumer search,” he said. “That means that to get a placement ahead of the consumer-focused advertiser, business advertisers need to pay a higher rate, and expect fewer click-throughs.”

Much of the traffic to PRWeb comes from results pages on the major search engines, which is where ThomasB2B intends to pick up traffic, Savage said.

“ThomasB2B operates in a world of potential affiliates that exist after people have clicked away from one of the major search engines. We begin to aggregate our traffic at the destination site the user travels to. That could be a directory site or a specialized search site, but in a lot of cases, it’s a content site,” he observed.

ThomasB2B launched its ad network in September. Since then, the company has signed distribution agreements with B-to-B directories WAND and Find.com to serve ads from the ThomasB2B network. PRWeb is the first non-directory site in ThomasB2B’s network.

The network uses the 10,000-category taxonomy of the Thomas Global Register Directory, a longtime leader among industrial directories. In addition, ThomasB2B’s multilingual product classification system allows an advertiser to choose a category in his own language and then be able to select the equivalent category in another language.

ThomasB2B.com is a joint venture between FindWhat.com and Thomas Global Register which began in March. The marketplace listings service uses FindWhat’s private label technology for its paid listings.

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