Larry Braitman and Richard Thompson, who had started Flycast Communications, an early ad-network in 1996, are back for an encore: this time with San Bruno-based Adify. Right in time to cash in on the ongoing eyeball boom and a sharp upswing in online advertising which is going to top $16 billion according to eMarketer. The company, which is expected to launch on Monday has also raised $8 million in Series A funding led by leading venture capital firm Venrock Associates.
The Flycast duo have developed an online advertising platform that puts publishers in charge, giving them tighter control over their ad-inventory. Typical online advertising network is essentially a way to monetize publishers’ unsold ad space. The advertisers and publishers have very little control. Hence, the need for Adify, according to the co-founders, who are already blogging.
As part of the platform, Adify will give publishers a specialized advertising page where they can fill out the details about what inventory is available, in what formats, and at what price. Adify will provide all of the back office functionality needed to execute the transaction, including ad management, tracking, reporting, billing and payment.
In order to get traction with some of the smaller publishers, the company has come up with highly vertical advertising networks, that match advertisers and publishers more effectively. The two networks that are currently on offer are “Clip-Ins,” for the cycling community, and “Top Dog Network” for dog loving publishers and advertisers. Feedburner might be moving along the same path.Brad Feld has set-up a VC network which well, aggregates feeds from various VC bloggers. Selling advertising against the network is part of the plan.
The idea of connecting niche communities to potential advertisers is an interesting one. Google AdSense has been successful way to put dollars into the pockets of small publishers, but the display advertising and sponsorship opportunities have been elusive. The publishers, including bloggers might give the service a shot, but will advertisers show up in large numbers? That is the make or break issue, not only for Adify, but anyone with online advertising ambitions.
PS: In case you were wondering, Flycast was bought by CMGI for about $690 million in stock back in 1999. Not sure how much of that turned into real money for Braitman and Thompson.