Tuesday, April 28, 2009

What Does AdXpose Mean for Online Publishers and Bloggers?

As some of you may have seen last week during ad:tech San Francisco, Mpire Corporation -- the parent company of WidgetBucks -- launched a new branded service called AdXpose. To clear up any confusion, AdXpose is completely separate from WidgetBucks.

AdXpose helps give interactive advertisers more insight into how their brand campaigns are actually performing online, no matter where their display ads run, including multiple ad networks (even those outside of WidgetBucks), exchanges and/or direct publisher placements.

At first blush, this may seem very advertiser focused and of no interest to you, the publisher. But alas, AdXpose has significant implications for all publishers, whether in the head or Long Tail.

The bottom line is this: Publishers have the potential to earn more money because AdXpose provides verification information around ad placement and reach to agencies, networks and advertisers. In other words, advertisers and their agencies now have a system that tells them if and when ads ran in view on properly targeted sites or blog -- and this confirmation means the ad placement carries more value (i.e. you get a higher CPM, assuming a couple of things about your site -- see below).

Last week, Mpire's CEO Matt Hulett demonstrated AdXpose to a room full of publishers during the conference and the response was tremendous. Many publishers approached Matt after the panel wanting more information and asked lots of questions, both tactical and challenging.

So, as a publisher, what do you need to do to empower your site or blog business to reap the rewards of AdXpose technology? Publishers need to ask themselves two questions when it comes to addressing this shifting paradigm of online media:

1. Does my ad inventory strategy provide value to advertisers? That is, is there a blend of above and below the fold placements? Do they complement the content?

2. Does my site content appeal to advertisers who want to maximize their spend and/or that are hyper-protective of their brands?

AdXpose is currently in invite-only private beta for key partners, so WidgetBucks and non-WidgetBucks publishers likely won't see the impact of placements and targeting for a few weeks.

We'll provide updates along the way here on the WidgetBucks blog, as well as the AdXpose blog.

- Dean

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Forbes: New automated tech firms reshaping digital media

Forbes.com posted an insightful piece today on the rise of an emerging set of ad technology companies that are helping brands conduct their media buying more efficiently and effectively as people increasingly spend their lives online.

Mpire Corporation, maker of both WidgetBucks and AdXpose, was among the private companies cited in this lengthy article. The other technology companies in the piece include Mpire partners OpenX, Rubicon Project and Pubmatic, as well as Google and Yahoo! [full article here]

Matt Hulett, Mpire's CEO, (pictured) was quoted in the article -- "We've seen half a billion dollars of venture capital poured into building optimization and planning companies." -- and Mpire's new service -- AdXpose -- was highlighted as well:

This week, Hulett's firm unveiled an application to help advertisers track on which Web sites networks place ads, where on the actual screen the ad appears and if Web surfers pause their cursor over the ad. The tool is intended to help marketers better figure out how much of their ad spending is essentially worthless.

For more information and background on AdXpose, check out last week's press coverage, press release, and demo on YouTube.

- Dean

Monday, April 13, 2009

It's Time to Vote! Seattle 2.0 Awards 2009

This may be considered a very "local thing" but every vote counts, no matter its location. The Seattle 2.0 Awards recognizes accomplishments and exceptional people of the best of over 300 Seattle area technology startups. Voting ends April 28.

WidgetBucks is honored to be a finalist in four categories:

  • Best Startup CEO: Matt Hulett
  • Best Startup Technologist: Greg Harrison
  • Best Blog from/about Startups: Startup Whisperer by Matt Hulett
  • Best Venture Capitalist: Bill Bryant, WidgetBucks board member and Venture Partner at Draper Fisher Jurvetson, which led WidgetBucks' Series B funding in June 2008.
Those outside of the Seattle area may not realize the amount of innovation coming from the Puget Sound region from names like Picnik, Redfin, Wetpaint, iLike, and BuddyTV. Check out a full list here. We encourage to offer up your support and vote.

Here's a full list of categories -- Vote now!
  • Best Startup
  • Best Boot-strapped Startup
  • Best Startup CEO
  • Best Startup Technologist
  • Best Venture Capitalist
  • Best Angel Investor
  • Best Startup Product Designer
  • Best Service Provider to Startups
  • Best Blog from/about Startup
  • Best Social Event for Startups

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Beginner's Guide to Ad Optimization

WidgetBucks CEO Matt Hulett is a featured contributor in Monday's edition of Adotas, one of the interactive advertising's most targeted publications. Matt delves into the world of ad optimization, where he feels there is a lot of innovation happening today despite very little other good news coming from within the sector.

Matt discusses a group of optimization startups, including WidgetBucks, that are adding a tremendous layer of value between the supply and demand. These companies are still getting funding when other sectors have gone dry, and some have even been acquired recently.

The five areas of focus in what Matt calls the "ad optimization stack" include:

  • Container Optimization. Companies such as SnapAds, Tumri, Clearspring, Gigya and WidgetBucks
  • Targeting Optimization. Companies such as BlueKai, Exelate, Lookery and OthersOnline
  • Yield Optimization. Companies such as Pubmatic, Rubicon Project, YieldBuild, YieldX and WidgetBucks
  • Exchanges. Companies such as Right Media’s Publisher Media Exchange, Microsoft’s AdECN, DoubleClick
  • Auction-based marketplaces. Companies such as ContextWeb's ADSDAQ, AdBite, Turn, Google AdSense, and Yahoo! Publisher Network
Check out Matt's full Adotas post here.