FLYCAST MEDIANET TRACKS ONLINE ADS: NEW SERVICE REACTS TO COMPETITION WITH EXPANSION OUTSIDE NETWORK

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Flycast communications, reacting to moves by DoubleClick and NetGravity, today launches a service that enables the ad network to expand its customer base, generate additional revenue and go head-to-head with third-party ad-serving companies.

Flycast mediaNet now will serve and track ads for advertisers and agencies who buy space outside the Flycast Network, which has more than 1,000 sites.

"This new service places us in a new category," said Dave Miller, director of private network offerings for Flycast.

"Now, MatchLogic, AdKnowledge and NetGravity are considered competitors, as well as DoubleClick and 24/7 [Media]," he said.

MatchLogic, which is owned by Excite@Home, NetGravity, Adknowledge and DoubleClick offer online ad managements services, such as ad-targeting. DoubleClick and 24/7 are ad sales networks.

The new offering lets customers track ads on any site, said VP-Marketing Lyn Chitow Oakes.

CUSTOMERS PROMPTED CHANGE

"Many of our customers were looking to us to help them use our technology to track ads across all sites on the Internet," she said.

"The more ways Flycast can decouple its services, there's more value to advertisers," said Jae Kim, analyst with Paul Kagan & Associates "In addition, it's a great marketing tool for Flycast seeking other Web sites to bring into its network."

Flycast's service is similar to ad-serving company NetGravity's AdCenter for Agencies, which automates online media buying, serving and tracking across the Web on behalf of advertising agencies.

Flycast packages ad space from its network of sites, including remnant space on portals such as Yahoo!, with space on smaller sites and sells it to advertisers.

Advertisers who have signed on to use the new service include DVD Express, BellSouth IntelliVentures and NewsEdge Corp., a news integrator. For the new service, Flycast charges advertiser customers for each ad served. Ad tracking and consulting services are included in that charge.

If advertisers also want to run ads on the Flycast Network, which has been the company's traditional offering, they pay Flycast for the media buy -- run of network cost is $6 per thousand impressions -- on top of the charge per ad served.

Flycast is considering launching a trade print and direct mail campaign to back the new offering in the fourth quarter, Ms. Chitow Oakes said. Its agency is Highway One Communications, San Francisco. Flycast says it spent more than $1 million on advertising in 1998.

Other ad networks are diversifying their services, creating ways to gain customers and revenue.

DOUBLECLICK'S EXAMPLE

In March, DoubleClick moved all of its exclusive sites into a new category, DoubleClick Select, and made it a component of the overall DoubleClick Network. With that move, DoubleClick now represents clients on a non-exclusive basis and increased the amount of ad inventory it could sell. Since launching the service, seven sites have joined DoubleClick Select, bringing the total number of Select sites to 58.

DoubleClick's DART for Advertisers, another move to expand beyond the network model, serves and tracks ads on sites inside and outside the DoubleClick Network.

Relying on ad management company AdForce to serve and track ads, 24/7 will work with sites that have in-house sales departments, but not those that work with other third-party sales networks.

But Flycast is a different type of ad network serving a different customer base, Ms. Chitow Oakes said.

"Buyers use us to buy aggregated, unsold, unbranded space at a lower cost," she

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