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ACCIPITER LATEST ENTRANT IN RACE TO MANAGE ADS;COMPANY SETS SIGHTS ON HELPING CONTENT PROVIDERS TARGET AUDIENCE

By Published on .

A new company called Accipiter has joined the increasingly competitive online ad management industry.

The Raleigh, N.C.-based startup today introduces the Accipiter AdManager, a tool geared toward content providers that allows them to deliver targeted advertising.

The product is expected to be in beta test through October with about a dozen content sites including The Attitude Network, publishers of gaming site HappyPuppy.com (http://www.happypuppy.com). While the pricing model is not yet determined, Chris Evans, president and CEO of Accipiter (http://www.accipiter.com), expects the service will be based on monthly or quarterly subscriptions.

BIRD WITH*KEEN*VISION

"Accipiter is the only product we've found that will allow our advertisers to target ads to groups like Sega users or strategy game players," said Don Rainey, chief operating officer of The Attitude Network.

Like an accipiter, which is a bird in the hawk family known for keen vision, the company focuses on registering users and developing audience profiles to deliver targeted customers for advertisers on the Internet. In addition to targeting, the software also allows users to place and rotate online advertising as well as generate reports on traffic.

"Right now Web site publishers are in a dilemma because the top five sites are setting the rates across the Net," said Mr. Evans, who previously co-founded another software company called DaVinci Systems and secured $3 million in venture capital to fund Accipiter. "Accipiter can give vendors the ammunition to tell advertisers they will reach a more highly qualified audience which will allow them to charge a higher rate."

NETGRAVITY*A*COMPETITOR

Two companies based in the San Francisco area, NetGravity and FocaLink, offer similar ad management services. While FocaLink primarily targets its product to advertising agencies wanting to manage clients' online advertising, NetGravity and Accipiter focus more specifically on publishers and content providers on the Web.

"NetGravity did a good job creating a product category for ad servers," said Mr. Evans. "But their software is more mechanical and helps sites rotate ads. Accipiter is more focused on serving ads based on exactly who is at a particular site."

While Mr. Evans sees NetGravity as a competitor, he says that the service offered by FocaLink could complement Accipiter through sharing demographic data. "There are a number of companies building solutions for content providers serving ads," said Dave Zinman, founder of FocaLink. "The industry is very immature and these companies need to run very fast just to keep up with the changes."

`A MARKETING AND PROMO TOOL'

"Accipiter seems to be more of a marketing and promotional tool because of its ability to target specific demographics and psychographics," said Mary Doyle, senior analyst with IDC/Link. "The audience quality issue will be important. In direct mail and publishing there are always circulation managers to handle complicated rate cards. We'll start seeing more electronic circulation managers."

Accipiter plans to launch a print, online and direct mail campaign in November promoting the service.

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