Ad Network Tries Money-Back Guarantee

Undertone Networks to Pay Up to $50K If Ad Runs Where It Shouldn't

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NEW YORK ( -- How tough is it getting in the online ad market? Undertone Networks, which only works with so-called premium online publishers, is offering to refund advertisers up to $50,000 if an ad ends up on a site that it shouldn't.

"If an advertiser finds their ad in an inappropriate place, instead of saying sorry, you know what, here's your guarantee," said CEO Mike Cassidy.

It's the biggest knock against ad networks -- that in order to reach the number of impressions guaranteed to advertisers, ads inevitably start filling inventory on social networks or other dubious sites.

That, and there are now hundreds of ad networks clamoring for dollars by telling advertisers and agencies they only place ads on "premium" sites. In the case of Undertone, that means ads won't appear on social networks, sites with user-generated content or get sold through online ad exchanges.

"There are a lot of networks out there and a lot of them are saying the same thing; we're putting our money where our mouth is," Mr. Cassidy said.

The $50,000 would cover the entire cost of most campaigns on the network. The average order is about half that, or $25,000.

It's a sign of how tight competition is becoming for online marketing dollars. This fall, expanded a program it calls its "Brand Increase Guarantee," where advertisers spending at least $1 million over 90 days get a guarantee of reach, frequency and effectiveness. Previously Forbes had only guaranteed smaller campaigns.
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