Ad Network Focus: Advertising.com

Founded by two brothers in 1998, Advertising.com may just be one of the success stories of the dot-com boom. The performance-based online marketing company has grown from two employees in a home office in Baltimore to a multinational operation that represents 14 of the top 20 national advertisers in the U.S., as well as all 10 of the top 10 advertisers in the U.K.

As CEO Scott Ferber told MediaPost back in 1999, “The industry is still several years away from realizing the ultimate goal of anonymous ad targeting and optimization, but the potential is there.” And the company seems to be on its way to realizing that potential.

Advertising.com started out as a performance-based rep firm working with second-and third-tier websites. In the first few years its site list skyrocketed to more than 5,000, only to drop down to less than half that in less than a year.

The company has had success with financiers (securing $57 million in 2000 from the likes of Reuters and AOL), saw its revenues grow steadily through the dot-com crash. Today it counts Bacardi, BMG, Unilever, and nearly 1,900 others as clients. It also claims to serve close to 6 billion monthly impressions and to reach of 60 percent of the Internet audience.

Despite an unsteady economy in 2001, Ferber says Advertising.com sees continued success coming its way. “Marketers cannot afford to waste campaign dollars, so they depend on the efficiency and trackability of the Internet,” he said. “We were one of the first companies to implement performance-based pricing, and this focus on performance and our dedication to customer service has driven our continued success.”

Like most other networks, Advertising.com has its own ad serving technology—ACE Serve—which currently has 20 clients, the largest being the Advertising.com network itself. The company’s flagship product is still its optimization technology, called AdLearn, which allows advertisers to plan, place, track, and adjust ad campaigns almost automatically.

Rounding out Advertising.com’s offerings are an email network, which reached an estimated 75 million people, and a wireless network, one of the very first wireless networks launched by an online ad rep firm. The wireless network reaches 2 million people, mostly in Europe.

Most recently, Advertising.com acquired Dayrates, a Scandinavian direct marketing company, and Ferber says that this acquisition is likely to have poised Advertising.com as the largest performance-based network in Europe.