FatTail Automates SEM Service That Buys Traffic

Steve Pelletier FatTail will release the PageGage RAFT service Monday, according to Steve Pelletier, the company's CEO. The tool aims to give online publishers a way to make more money from display advertising by removing the guesswork from delivering traffic to the site.

RAFT, or reach and frequency tool, provides an automated service that combines ad contract data and Web site content by buying search traffic cost-effectively and directing that traffic to the pages that need it the most.

The dashboard offers up daily page-by-page and site performance indicators, along with the traffic requirements necessary to fulfill ad contracts. The service creates a list of keywords from existing Web site content and acquires traffic from search engines and other methods at prices that, in theory, can deliver profit to publishers.



The application taps information research words, which are less expensive to purchase than ecommerce words, to ensure that publishers get the traffic at prices they can afford. The tool estimates the price publishers should earn per page, depending on the traffic, as well as the price they should pay. The system buys traffic through keywords on Google. "A click of a button creates a list of words and terms with a max bid," Pelletier says. "The idea is to drive the ad requirements, page by page. The issue we solve is the automation of the traffic generation process, where you need it, when you need it, and the quantity you need at a price you can actually make money with."

Prior to the launch of PageGage RAFT, companies would manually generate a list of keywords, submit them to Google and look up the market price for words. Pelletier says it was too difficult to calculate all the information, so marketers often paid more than they should for keywords.

Ryan Whittington, VP and GM of bizjournals at Portfolio.com, Charlotte, NC, began working with FatTail on RAFT about two years ago, long before the company raised funding to develop the tool.

Traffic is growing across the 40 bizjournals sites, but advertisers are putting on the pressure to increase targeting, yet lower CPMs. Bizjournals needed to find a method that made them more competitive. "The worst thing for us to do is sell inventory we don't have," Whittington says. "Then at the end of the month, advertisers get mad because we didn't deliver on it. They have a set budget and want to make sure it gets used."

FatTail built the interface, but needs to add more reporting features to the platform, which can run independently or integrate with other applications, according to Whittington. The application "scrapes the pages" to build creative ads for search.

This means the application will search articles in bizjournals such as "San Francisco Business Times," for example, looking for keywords about companies in the news. It takes the company names, and through numerous templates, builds a search engine marketing keyword campaign to drive traffic back to the pages.

"In most worlds, people do that manually," Whittington says. "For us, it's huge because we publish 2,000 articles weekly."

There are no fixed costs for the PageGage RAFT service. Customers pay a percentage of the dollars spent driving traffic. The typical range is between 10% and 20% -- a similar fee structure paid to SEM vendors today.

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