FutureTool: OrbitAds

Pop-up ads are ‘pretty distracting and offensive. They deliver a good message but there’s a better way to get the message across without upsetting surfers,’ says Brian Hunter, chief operating officer of ExitExchange.

The company’s solution: OrbitAds, which don't really pop up, but pop under, appearing as full-page ads after a user leaves a website. “They convert exit traffic into valuable advertising for members,” Hunter says.

OrbitAds are delivered through Windows management system software that automatically codes and serves a member’s ad after a user leaves a website.

Unlike pop-up ads, OrbitAds play after a user surfs a site, so they are unobtrusive; also, they can be large-size, a full page if desired. Rich media ads, including Flash, Shockwave, Java, and streaming video, can be played. Hunter says the most popular OrbitAd size is 600 x 400 pixels.

The company operates a network of advertisers, whose ads play on a two-for-one basis. For every two ads opened on a member‘s site, the member‘s ad plays once and another member’s ad or a nonmember advertiser’s ad plays the other time. Ads are played across a network of 18,000 sites that is divided into 22 categories and 305 sublevel categories. The main categories are business, the Internet, and shopping, Hunter says.

Banner exchange networks were tried, but failed because banner ads are largely ignored. ExitExchange takes the idea a step further, exchanging entire web pages instead of banners. It’s more effective, says Hunter, because an entire page speaks louder than a small banner, and loading an entire page can bring viewers directly to an advertiser’s website, eliminating the need for an additional click-through. Not all OrbitAds are web pages and some seek click-throughs. The click-through rate, Hunter says, is 4.7 percent, approximately 20 times that of a traditional banner.

ExitExchange isn’t the only exchange network. Others include AdExit Exchange and TrafficBvld. But Exit Exchange has been praised for operating a large network, being compatible with all browsers, including AOL 6.0, and forbidding adult and gambling sites in its network.

Joining the network is free, with the company generating revenue from the inventory it sells relating to each advertiser. Advertisers from outside the network pay CPM or CPA rates for the ads they buy. isn’t a member of the ExitExchange network, but buys OrbitAds independently. Vice president John Anderson says he was initially hesitant about using OrbitAds, because of the negative publicity pop-unders get. “They were leaving a bad imprint with consumers,” he says. “But then I started to analyze the data of traffic they generate and I found it was very effective on a CPC basis. We’re doing pretty well; it’s better than the other advertising we looked at.” began using OrbitAds in June, part of a print and online ad campaign used by the website for its popular travel destination.

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