AdNetwork Focus: Engage

When Engage left the media business back in August 2001, many people thought it had also exited the ad-serving business. Apparently, that wasn’t the case. After parent company CMGI didn’t renew a $50 million loan with Engage, a buyer was sought for Engage Media. BlueStreak purchased AdKnowledge, Engage’s campaign analytic product, and Engage shut down its ad network in September 2001.

Engage is now a software/content management company, and two of its products are ad servers. AdManager boasts 200 clients, such as Microsoft and Looksmart, who maintain the software themselves. Pricing begins at $21,000 for license fees, with additional charges based on volume. AdBureau has 100 clients, including uBid and iWon, who utilize its centrally hosted technology. Pricing here begins at $1,000 minimum monthly, and the CPM varies with volume. The two technologies serve a combined 400 billion impressions yearly.

Each ad server is capable of serving billions of ads daily, which makes them compatible for both small websites and a network of sites. Ads can be served anywhere from wireless devices to iTV to ATM machines, gas pumps, and kiosks. Features for each server include real-time reports, rich media and CPA support, and a non-proprietary database.

AdManager Version 6 will make its debut in the late spring, with new added features including auto-optimization (better ads will be served more frequently than underperforming ads) and e-sessions (to follow surround session campaigns).

According to Pat Wharton, senior product marketing manager at Engage, “Many people believe we have exited the media business, but we have always been a software company and will continue to develop on that.” Wharton went on to admit that Engage hasn’t done a very good job in recent months at getting the word out about its presence in the ad-serving world.

Addressing reports of Engage’s not paying its publishers, a press release on the website states: “Engage continued the wind-down of its media business following the cessation of media operations in September 2001. Engage is continuing to work diligently to complete wind-down activities, including settling significant obligations, by early calendar 2002.”

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