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Re: Ad Serving Solutions?

From: <MarkWelch_at_adbility.com>
Date: Mon, 16 Aug 1999 15:20:37 -0500 (CDT)

David Morrison wrote:
>Our web site needs to upgrade our ad serving and rotation
>technology to accommodate more sophisticated advertising
>(time date stamps, rich media, html and java banners, etc.).
>We currently are running Central Ad Pro 3.0 and need to
>upgrade. Is there a robust solution out there that costs
>less than $80K or 80 cents per thousand?

I maintain a list of ad-serving solutions (see
http://www.adbility.com/wpag/baf_ad_sw.htm) and even
knowing of all the options out there, I cannot find any
that are suitable and in my price range.

If your budget does allow spending $25,000, then you could
look at RealMedia Open Ad Stream, which looks OK (you pay
them a minimum of $10,000 and then you buy SQL Server or
Oracle, required, to use with it. If you have a dual-CPU
server like I do, the license to use SQL Server or Oracle is
$15,000 to $18,000.)

If your budget allows for $50,000 to $125,000, then by all
means look at NetGravity (I am told a typical install runs
to $100,000).

Unfortunately, for those of us with budgets below $10,000
per month, there are not ANY meaningful software solutions:
Central Ad Pro and Ad Juggler are too limited (and without
any meaningful support, so you MUST be a Unix or NT Server
admin *expert*). Beware of promises from new companies (like
Ad Cafe, introduced last year) or "revived" companies (Ad
Juggler, now starting its second revival), since they
promise support and service and then after selling a bunch
of software they seem to just disappear.

Another option is Spinbox, which is a dedicated hardware and
software combination (e.g. you must get more shelf space to
install their unit), starting around $5,000. (Above.net
wants another $350 per month for me to install a second
device at their facility.)

If you looking for an "outsourced" solution as a publisher,
things don't get much better. Spinbox offers a "Virtual
Spinbox" product that does outsourced ad serving, but in my
case I am not comfortable doubling my down times -- since
they don't have any units at my colocation facility
(above.net), I would be faced with loss of revenue any time
my facility OR theirs had down time.

Note that MatchLogic and AdKnowledge (formerly Focalink),
don't sell their services to web publishers, only to
advertisers and agencies.

NetGravity has a $1,500 monthly minimum for outsourced ad
serving through their service, and DoubleClick has a $1,000
per month monthly minimum fee. (Both charge CPM fees for
ad serving, I believe running from a high of $1 to $2 CPM
and dropping below $1 for larger volumes.

AdForce (formerly Imgis) has a $500 monthly minimum and a
rate of $0.99 per 1,000 adviews for up to 5 million
impressions per month.

(The pricing is NOT disclosed on these vendors' sites, you
must fight to get to a sales person and answer many
questions before they will discuss basic pricing, which is
really annoying.)

I am stuck with Central Ad Pro 3.0J (since I can't install
the demo version of CAP 4.0, after several tries, I can't
tell if it might offer some of the additional functionality
I need -- the company acknowledges that some bugs remain,
including a "memory leak" plus a problem with file names
(Central Ad Pro is case-sensitive for file names but
Windows is not, so you will almost certainly experience
ad-delivery failures due to the fact that some Windows apps
arbitrarily change the case of file names.)

Bottom line: Budget a MINIMUM of 40 hours and more likely 80
to 100 hours for your efforts to evaluate ad serving
solutions, then budget another 100 to 500 hours for the
implementation of your chosen solution. I can't do that,
nor the other half-dozen similar projects demanded of me to
maintain my site, and so I am ready to throw in the towel.

-- Mark J. Welch, Editor & Publisher
-- Adbility's Web Publishers' Advertising Guide
-- http://www.Adbility.com/WPAG/
-- (925) 462-8483 voice - Pleasanton, California

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Received on Mon Aug 16 1999 - 15:40:36 CDT


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