In the Trenches with Matt Oettinger, Manager of Media Development at Fastclick

Oettinger arrived at ad network and ad serving outfit Fastclick two years ago with a few years of experience under his belt from positions at competitor ValueClick Inc., as well as ValueClick's affiliate network, Commission Junction. When he started with Fastclick in a publisher support role, the company encompassed just ten people; today, the firm boasts a staff of nearly 80, according to Oettinger. Oettinger

Oettinger's days are spent ensuring ad campaign performance for Fastclick's top 200 publishers, as well as building the company's publisher base, and making sure to stay a step ahead of the competition. One way he works towards that is by taking customer requests into consideration when developing Fastclick's system interface changes. Another way: not underselling publisher clients. To keep advertisers from coming to Fastclick directly and possibly undercutting publisher clients' rate cards, the company does not publicize the names of sites in its network.

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What are your favorite online destinations in the a.m.? Why?

I always go to our top [publisher sites], especially the ones I've been working with on a regular basis. I check out their sites to see if what we talked about is set in place.

Then I go to message boards for publishers like GeekVillage.com as well as SitePoint. That goes back to our tier two or three [publisher sites]. I can monitor their discussions and hop in there if need be. It's also a great place to see what competitors are up to.

And then there's the IAR [Internet Advertising Report] and MediaPost for work related news.

In the morning I also check out Santa Barbara News-Press and then Weather.com.

What other sites do you visit frequently? Why?
Launch.com - just if I want to look up a record or music video or radio stream. The '80s covers station is great....No dentist office music!

I also go to MensHealth for fitness, nutrition, and lifestyle information, and Discovery.com for the TV station. I'm a fan of Monster Garage and American Chopper...I have a newer model Mustang I'm always toying with.

What is the most challenging part of your job?
This kind of goes back to the top publishers I'm working with. They all have different needs and different styles of how they conduct business....I don't ever want to give a generic answer to all of them.

If they're noticing, say, slow banner performance, I'll look at their account and see what they're talking about. [Through the company's system, Matt can view sites from the publisher's perspective]. It just takes extra time. The challenge is adapting to each publisher's individual needs, but still offering the same level of service to all.

The other challenge is that we always have so many ideas...it's always prioritizing that.

What do you like best about your job; what keeps you interested?
I love being able to work with such a wide variety of clients. The knowledge that I get from the large publishers, I can filter to the smaller publishers.

Just helping a publisher develop a better site that a user is going to come back to. In addition, to maximize their ad inventory and their revenue.

When will true media integration take place for advertisers?
We're already seeing that, not that we can act as a one-stop-shop, but that we can work with advertisers to tie in their offline with their online efforts.

Call centers are great, using a call center rather than saying, "Go to our site." We can display the phone number right there in the ad and that can be geographically targeted. They can track those calls right back to that ad. We see [the use of call centers] most with travel advertisers.

What's the most divisive online policy issue right now?
Contextual marketing is hot right now: text links, matching image ads to content, etc. It can be too over-targeted. Say I'm on a medical site with an article on alcoholism and it populates with "Party with Corona" [text links or ads]. [When planning] future development and future products, that issue always comes up.

Blogs and communities. They're getting pretty hot right now -- like Friendster and all those blog sites. The problem is there is the lack of real-time control over the content. If someone has a blog, and they [write about how they] hate America, Visa, or a car insurance company doesn't want to be associated with a message below something saying that. There's no real-time control.

MediaPost's In the Trenches profile series aims to honor the real troopers of the interactive ad industry, the up-and-coming creative staffers, the ad sales underlings, the minds behind the technologies that make it all happen. Do you know someone who deserves a salute from MediaPost's In the Trenches? Let us know! Contact Kate Kaye at kate@mediapost.com.

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