Abraham Langer, senior VP-audience development & digital media for 1105 Media, said the goal is to expand the network with other publishers, initially in the IT space with possible expansion into other verticals. Langer laid out the company's vision for Upside.com for Digital Directions.
Digital Directions: What differentiates Upside.com as a lead-generation network?
Langer: We offer many premium lead-gen programs through our established 1105 brands. With Upside, we are looking to serve advertisers who aren't in the market to pay a premium for the highly targeted, highly qualified, granular audiences we can provide. These advertisers are generally small- to mid-sized companies with volume-oriented lead-generation needs. This is a different market from the ones we serve with our main brands, and we think the strength of our offering is access to a unique demographic and audience reach.
Digital Directions: What does the automated system allow the advertiser to do?
Langer: Once an advertiser signs up through a simple online process, they choose the number of leads they want [with a minimum of 50] and the IT functions and organizational levels they want to target. They supply a content asset such as a white paper or webcast that we promote across our network. We offer to provide an asset that's repackaged from the editorial content we produce, but no one has taken us up on that yet.
When a target registers to access the content, we pass along a lead in the form of a name, company, title, postal address, email address and phone number. They also receive details on which content was accessed and the date and time it was accessed.
To maintain a low cost per lead, Upside.com is designed to be self-service, but once the program is designed through the system, it is routed to an audience developer to make sure the advertiser's asset matches up with the target audience and to make sure we can hit the number of leads they expect. We have seen a healthy repeat business in the six months we've been up.
Digital Directions: What technology was required to launch Upside.com?
Langer: We use a .NET-based content management system called SiteCore to build all our sites, including Upside. We've taken SiteCore's off-the-shelf framework and customized it to build what we consider to be a fairly sophisticated and robust CMS for a publishing organization. The other piece of technology that's involved is our Lead Collection System, which we built in-house in .NET. I think we've got a great basic system, but as we bring more publishers on board and the audiences get larger, we would be looking to refine the system to scale it more substantially.
Digital Directions: Why would other publishers join Upside.com?
Langer: We are in discussions to build a network of publishers to participate in Upside.com. I can't say how we plan to share revenue, but we have a consistent formula. We're paying the publishing partner to drive the lead to our site, and [in our current business model], we own the lead.