Former AOL Chair Backs New Search Tech Startup 'Clickable'

New York-based Clickable announced that former AOL Chairman and CEO Jonathan Miller has joined the company's Board of Directors.

The announcement comes on the heels of the search tech startup's naming of Nielsen BuzzMetrics vet Max Kalehoff as its vice president of marketing, and a $6 million round of financing from Union Square Ventures.

The firm tapped Miller, whose experience includes senior executive roles at USA Information Services (parent company of Ticketmaster and Citysearch) and Viacom's Nickelodeon/MTV Networks for his depth of industry experience, and skill at managing large-scale operations.

In Miller's words, he joined the Board because Clickable's product--a Web-based online ad management platform--is at the forefront of the "next wave" in interactive advertising.

While major acquisitions like WPP's purchase of 24/7 Real Media and AOL's purchase of Tacoda helped make 2007 the "year of the ad network buys," Miller notes that those networks had been around for a while. The frenzy was a sign that the "first wave has matured," Miller says, "but there's another turn of the wheel coming, and I think Clickable is part of that."



Clickable's ad management platform monitors campaign performance across Google, Microsoft and Yahoo's paid search networks, giving marketers a simplified view of which ads are functioning well and which need to be tweaked. There are suggestions for raising or lowering bids, choosing better keywords or crafting new campaigns with just one click--as well as more in-depth analytics that track cross-network performance over time.

The platform is also built on an open API, which makes it easier for new networks to get plugged in. According to CEO David Kidder, Clickable has plans "to incorporate some of the smaller PPC networks in the near future," with AdBrite on tap for integration in January. The company is also in talks with local search and IYP providers like Marchex and Idearc Media's Superpages.

Miller says that the transparency is what separates Clickable's dashboard apart from many others--and it's part of the company's ethos and culture. "When it comes to the evolution of online advertising technology, there have been a number of black box solutions," says Miller. "So we have an entire class of advertisers that have had a negative black box experience, or have just been too afraid to try it. What's next is the development of open platforms and much more transparent services and solutions."

Clickable launched a beta version of the application in September with a client base of 50 companies, and has reportedly gained nearly 1,600 new customers since then. Although Miller was brought on to help the firm grow to scale, according to Kidder, Clickable isn't going after major enterprise-level advertisers or agencies.

"We like to think of our target as medium-sized spenders, or that class of marketers that's spending between $5,000 and $50,000 per month," says Kidder. "And when it comes to figuring out which campaigns work best on which network, combing through the analytics and keeping all those balls in the air--there's a lot of pain for medium-sized businesses. It's complex."

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