Ad Management Software | 11
[Editor's note: this article was written by Charlie Morris in August of 1998. As such, we cannot insure that information enclosed is up to date as of the time you are reading it. Please contact the vendors discussed for updated information on their individual offerings.]
The trend at the moment is for networks and rep firms to buy the companies that make ad-management packages, and take them out of circulation. The only top-end packages not yet betrothed are Accipiter and NetGravity. Apparently there's more money in providing ad management as a service than in selling it as a software package. There are also compelling reasons for publishers to outsource their ad management. High-end ad-management packages are expensive, and they require some server expertise to install. Most Web publishers will find that meeting the needs of their advertisers will involve some custom programming, a fair amount of ongoing maintenance time, or both.
If you're determined to serve your ads in-house, your needs and budget will dictate your choice of products. At the bottom end of the scale, Central Ad PRO 3.0J is a darn good bargain. Its functionality is limited but solid, and the price can't be beat. Ad guru Mark Welch chose this one to use on his site, and that's a pretty strong endorsement. In the middle price range, AdJuggler is the clear winner. Its lack of advanced targeting capabilities, and lack of support for rich banner content, are the only things that separate it from the multi-thousand-dollar options. Like the pricey packages, its API is available for custom programming.
At the high end of the scale, Open AdStream is the one to beat. Its targeting abilities are unsurpassed, and the reporting options are a little better than those of either of the competitors. Some may be leery of OAS because it is owned by an ad rep firm. However, the other two may very well be snapped up soon as well, and Real Media has at least indicated that they do intend to continue to offer OAS as a stand-alone product.
Included with this article is a comparison chart for your convience.
Comments are welcome
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Created: Aug. 19, 1998
Revised: Aug. 24, 1998