Sapient Opens Its Ad Tool To The General Market

Seeking to capitalize on concerns about conflicts of interest in the marketplace, Sapient today is announcing the stand-alone availability of its BridgeTrack ad server to clients of other interactive agencies.

According to Dave Murphy, general manager of the BridgeTrack product at Cambridge, Mass.-headquartered Sapient, the public launch was accelerated several months based on last week's deal news.

"The two largest ad servers have been purchased by the two largest publishers," he said. "Clients are starting to ask: What am I doing here?"

"Advertising agencies, marketers and publishers are concerned about the wave of proposed deals involving Microsoft--aQuantive, Google/DoubleClick and others," said Sapient Chief Creative Officer Gaston Legorburu in a statement. "Advertisers and marketers who use ad servers from DoubleClick and aQuantive to measure the impact of different types of media--including Google search and MSN--are worried about loss of objectivity and conflict of interest."

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BridgeTrack has been used by Sapient Interactive clients for seven years. The agency is now opening it to other traditional and interactive agencies as well as in-house media buyers and marketers.

The product has no associated publisher network. It focuses strictly on optimizing campaigns across all channels, said Murphy. BridgeTrack provides real-time actionable data, allowing campaigns to be modified at their earliest stages.

"We will not create a publisher platform," Murphy said. "We offer a toolset to deliver the most effective campaign. The number of clients we've brought on has doubled in the past six months."

Sapient clients include Citibank, Motorola and Celebrity Cruises.

"We've seen aQuantive be reasonably successful at separating Avenue A and the Atlas platform," Murphy said. "That's the type of model we think makes sense for us."

"Obviously, having influence on the media spend at such a high level [through Avenue A] had a way of trickling down [to Atlas and DRIVEpm]," Murphy added. "That had to be attractive to Microsoft."

Microsoft on Friday announced its intention to buy aQuantive for $6 billion. The deal, which must undergo federal antitrust review, is expected to close sometime after July.

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