Zadby Offers an Unbalanced Marketplace

Zadby, a Reston, Va.-based startup, has been flying under the radar while developing a product for advertisers to commission viral video ads. The company has retained about 200 top video independent producers, it says, and offers them deals to make commercials on spec for its customers. If their video is chosen, producers receive a $1,000-$3,000 budget plus a CPM rate. Zadby takes a 20 percent cut.

The twist is that video producers release the ads on their own YouTube, AOL or MySpace channel — in other words, where they’ve already built an audience.

The problem is, Zadby relies on the existence of a creative class that makes videos for the love of it, and might be interested in making some money off of the work, but not enough to seek out a better deal. “The model isn’t geared towards them,” Beau Brewer, Zadby’s general manager, told NewTeeVee. And that doesn’t sound terrifically sustainable.

Zadby’s advertisers get final approval on ads before they go live or anyone gets paid. If an ad isn’t chosen, its producer wouldn’t have the right to use the advertiser’s images — so all that work would go to waste.

The company has had one successful trial with Polk Audio, for which it commissioned ads with a $2,000 budget and received some 310,000 views, according to Brewer. The most popular one is embedded above.

Zadby has $400,000 in funding from its founders, who run the web development shop Siteworx. The young company’s CEO, Michael Buttrey, left in June for undisclosed reasons. Competitors include XLNTAds and StudioNow.

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