A prolonged economic downturn could turn out to be a upturn for advertising networks, at least in the short term. But, as the space gets more crowded with companies selling remnant, or unsold inventory, the fortunes for many such ad nets could change. As the NYT illustrates, many ad networks that focus on remnant ad space charge as little as $4 CPMs versus the average $40 CPMs commanded by portals like Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) or MSN. Meanwhile, the suddenly trendy vertical ad nets offered by major media publishers don’t offer the promise of cheap prices; instead, promising greater placement on top sites and like-minded affiliates.
While the low price is the key for remnant ad nets, improved targeting has helped support their use. But as ad nets proliferate, expect low prices to rise, diminishing their primary selling point to advertisers. David Hallerman, an eMarketer senior analyst, tells NYT: “These are the gold rush days now for ad networks. And that kind of counters the appeal of ad networks for advertisers