Jun 122007

A couple of recent simultaneous announcements have started me thinking about online advertising networks:

Reed Business and Burst Media have announced the launch of the Reed Partner Network. From the press release:

RPN provides advertisers with a fast and easy method of reaching targeted demographic and B2B audiences such as purchasing professionals, executive managers, and other company decision makers. RPN also eliminates the time-intensive and cost-prohibitive process of managing advertising campaigns across the B2B “long tail” of the Internet. Given Burst’s extensive network of content providers RPN launched with a traffic potential of more than 185 million advertising impressions and 20 million unique visitors each month. RPN is fully transparent, giving publishers complete control over which advertising campaigns run on their website, while letting advertisers see all websites where their ads will appear.

On the same day, GlobalSpec (a specialised search engine covering engineering and technical industries) announced the launch of the Industrial Ad Network, an online banner advertising network designed to reach members o the manufacturing, industrial, technical and engineering community. From the press release:

Companies who participate in GlobalSpec’s Industrial Ad Network can include their banner advertisements on more than 200 Web sites within the industrial sector, resulting in millions of targeted impressions each month. Advertisers save time and resources by reaching a specific audience of engineering, technical, manufacturing and industrial professionals on multiple sites with a single buy, and benefit from detailed tracking reports and customer service support. Additionally, the Industrial Ad Network allows for a variety of ad formats and sizes, and is designed to support rich media and video.

Federated Media is not so new (it launched in 2006) and offers a somewhat different audience based on a network of high-traffic blogs. It plans to have a number of different networks (or “federations”) – the first covers digital culture, with future federations being launched for media/entertainment, parenting and small businesses, and other sectors.

All of these networks are in competition with Google, and in particular Google’s Adsense. The potential advantage that these specialised networks can offer is a more tightly defined audience and the ability to place ads alongside more directly relevant content. As GlobalSpec say, the default sense of the word “lead” on the internet is a sales or marketing lead, which isn’t very helpful if you are marketing the heavy metallic element Pb. It remains to be seen, however, whether this will be offer sufficient advantage to outweigh Google’s firepower and reach.

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