Chris Redlitz and his company, Adauction.com, are promising nothing less than to revolutionize the media buying and selling process through the power of the Internet. Adauction.com brings media buyers and sellers together in an online marketplace, allowing buyers to bid in real time on outdoor boards, print ads, online and broadcast media--even an ad on Evander Holyfield's boxing shorts.
Using a dynamic pricing model, Adauction ensures that both buyers and sellers receive true market value for any given ad space--from premium high-demand inventory to remnant media space.
While some industry executives are pleased online-media buying is bringing much-needed efficiency to the market--as well as allowing access to media they may not otherwise know about--others grumble that what Adauction does best is drive up prices.
Mr. Redlitz shrugs off any such criticism, noting it's simply a matter of getting used to a new format for buying and selling media.
"We stand out because we're doing something in an obviously different way," he says. "We are trying to function more as a business-to-business `infomediary' in this space and, because no one has functioned like this before . . . we're bound to be examined closely on everything we do."
"Part of this is conditioning people to look at buying and selling media differently," Mr. Redlitz continues. "Along the way, there will be buying efficiencies that I'm sure will not go unnoticed."
Much of the Adauction site is automated, although it hasn't completely eliminated the human aspect. If a client wishes to be walked through the process by a live person, that can be easily accommodated.
Adauction has begun an ambitious series of seminars in major markets, teaching media buyers and planners about the online-advertising media marketplace. While the seminars introduce media executives to the online auction site, they also teach the integration of online and offline media, Mr. Redlitz says.
Ralph & Partners, San Francisco, works with Adauction on its advertising strategy and offline advertising; online ad responsibilities are handled in-house.
Adauction competes in this emerging space with AdOutlet.com, which launched in June.
Like many executives involved with the Net, Mr. Redlitz is upbeat and optimistic about the prospects of building a new business model.
"Whenever you've experienced a period of major growth with a company, like I did with Reebok [he was with the company during a period when sales zoomed to $2.5 billion from $15 million], you do seek out opportunities to do that all over again," he says. "But now I'd like to think I bring a lot more experience at managing that growth to the business."
Copyright November 1999, Crain Communications Inc.