AOL To Launch PubAccess Self-Service Tool

In a bid to draw more publishers into its Advertising.com ad network, AOL next week plans to launch a self-service tool for small Web publishers to sell and manage ads on their sites.

With the new PubAccess service, site owners can tap into Ad.com's large base of online advertisers, and will have control over which ads appear on their properties.

The launch of the manual tool comes amid reports that Ad.com is in the process of cutting its sales force in half at the behest of Lynda Clarizio, who recently transitioned from president of Ad.com to run AOL's broader ad-network group, Platform A.

Clarizio--who replaced Curt Viebranz, who is said to have failed in aligning Platform-A as fast as AOL expected--said PubAccess is tailor-made for smaller publishers.

"Smaller publishers didn't have a lot of options to receive CPM pricing for their display inventory," Clarizio said. "PubAccess provides a scalable solution."

The self-service ad model has also been gaining popularity among AOL's rivals like Facebook and MySpace, each of which recently gave advertisers the option to bypass sales reps with self-service systems.

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For better or worse, PubAccess is part of Platform-A's larger efforts to more efficiently monetize publisher's ad inventory. In February, AOL acquired buy.at, an affiliate network that provides a platform for performance-based e-commerce marketing programs to advertisers and publishers.

Presently, Ad.com has the potential to serve as a go-between for ads seen by roughly 90% of the total U.S. Web audience every month.

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