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A stream of companies, ranging from the powerful Petry rep firm to new-media company K2 Design, are hopping on the Web ad network craze.

Meanwhile, Commonwealth Network, one of the first ad networks, is relaunching with a new ad model and marketing campaign.

It's been a rocky launch for Petry Interactive, however. The company spent last week making amends to dozens of angry Web site owners who had fired off e-mail messages and clogged online discussion groups assailing the rep firm's plans for a new Internet ad network (http://www.petrynetwork.com). The sites called Petry's contract unfair because it forced participants to sign on exclusively with Petry for a full year.

Petry said it would change the terms of its contract with Web sites to allow them to sign on with more than one ad network and cancel their contract with Petry with 120 days' notice.


But the damage may have already been done. Many Web sites held up Petry's action as a sign of the company's inexperience with the Internet and its dependence on old-media revenue models.

"Petry's treating [Internet advertising] in the old school of thought, which is that it's mass marketing," said Andy Bourland, VP-business development with Andover Advanced Technologies, one of the Web site owners with whom Petry has had talks. "If I was repped by them, I would not have control over pricing or terms of sale."

"Petry doesn't have much track record of sucess in this space," said an interactive agency executive.

The issue came to a head late last month with a series of posts to the Online Advertising Discussion List (http://www.o-a.com) questioning Petry's plans and warning sites not to partner with Petry.

Petry, which tried to build a business repping individual sites over the past year and only recently decided to try the ad network model, defends its actions and says it's changing to give the market what it wants.

"Historically, the relationships we've had with television stations have dictated a certain amount of exclusivity," said David Moore, president of Petry Interactive.

Petry's network currently consists of Pacific Bell At Hand (http://www.athand.com) and Amer-itech's Yellow Pages Web site (http://www.yp.ameritech.com).

The company says it has signed up 50 TV station Web sites as well. Petry will split ad revenues 50-50 with member sites; ads range from a $20 cost per thousand for untargeted impressions to an $80 CPM for targeting. No advertisers have been signed.


Petry has licensed ad server technology from Imgis, a Costa Mesa, Calif., startup. Imgis is also in talks with Katz Millenium Marketing to supply its technology for a Katz ad network, which is expected to launch later this month.

In related news, K2 Design spent the better part of last year forming its own ad network called Cliqnow, which will be divided into nine different content networks. The first content network, Cliqgolf (http://www.cliqgolf.com), launched late in 1996, boasts 30 sites.


K2 will be the exclusive rep partner of each affiliate site within the networks and will receive more than a 25% cut of revenue from the ad sales they've handled.

Meanwhile, Interactive Imaginations this April plans to introduce more sophisticated technology to the top 10% of its Commonwealth affiliate sites.

While Commonwealth (http://

commonwealth.riddler.com) will continue to serve banners on all its sites, the most-trafficked sites will use similar tactics that the company's Riddler site uses to get better data on users. Tactics include user registration, while incentivizing registrants with rewards.

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