MIVA rolls out Web-based product to help publishers generate ad dollars

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MIVA, an online advertising network announced Wednesday it has launched MIVA InLine, a new product it said will help publishers generate incremental advertising revenue. It is currently in beta testing with five clients that have been using it the last two weeks, and will be launched officially in the fourth quarter, according to MIVA.

The new product uses MIVA-developed technology that crawls online publishers’ Web sites and adds hyperlinks to keywords within page content. When users mouse over those hyperlinks, “floating” pay-per-click ads relevant to that specific keyword appear.

“It’s a nonintrusive, user-initiated ad format,” said Chrysi Philalithes, VP-global marketing and communications at MIVA. “We want to provide our publishers and partners with numerous products and solutions for them to monetize their Web properties.”

MIVA’s InLine sounds a lot like an existing product: Vibrant Media’s IntelliTXT, a user-initiated, in-text contextual ad product. The one major difference is that IntelliTXT offers a rich media, video version of its product, announced in June. MIVA’s product does not support rich media ads. IntelliTXT also requires that a Web publisher’s site receive a minimum of 500,000 page views to qualify for IntelliTXT; MIVA’s product has no minimum.

One of InLine’s biggest benefits is that the new product addresses the issue of online inventory—which some industry watchers say is thinning—by giving online publishers the ability to generate revenue from the ads without needing to increase page impressions or freeing up banner real estate on a Web page. “This addresses the issue of inventory selling out,” Philalithes said.

“It’s great from the publisher’s perspective,” she added. “They can add incremental revenue to their business without increasing the number of page impressions. You don’t need to add additional pages to your Web site to get additional revenue.”

“I think this is 100% a publisher solution,” said Shar VanBoskirk, senior analyst at Forrester Research Inc. “It provides more ‘inventory’ and gives [publishers] another way to surround their customers with ads; In the actual text, in contextual ads adjacent to text, and if they are smart, online banner ads on the top of the content pages.”

InLine can also be customized in several ways. Publishers can specify individual Web pages, as well as sections of content that they want included in their InLine implementation. They also have the option to choose the number of hyperlinks added when the same keyword appears multiple times. Additionally, publishers have the ability to match the existing design style of the publisher’s site with the advertising. Finally, they are able to specify the number of unique keywords in the content in which they would like ads to appear.

InLine has sophisticated built-in filters to prevent keywords from being tagged in sensitive or inappropriate articles, according to MIVA. The company has also assigned editorial staffers to monitor and update the filters.

MIVA said it is giving large publishers the opportunity to display relevant content from their site under the pay-per-click ad as well. This allows users clicking on the hyperlink to see both the ad and, directly below, a URL that directs them to additional, related content from that Web publisher. Because MIVA is a pay-per-click ad network, the pricing for the new product is based on the same auction-based system.

The process for using the product is straightforward and fairly simple. MIVA supplies a few line of java script, which is then customized from the publisher’s end. Once that information goes “live,” MIVA begins crawling the publisher’s Web site.

Philalithes said the ads are targeted to interested users. “The advertiser only pays if the user clicks through to the ad,” she said. “From an advertiser perspective, the user has to actively decide to click through to the Web site.”

Since the ads are “100% user-generated,” Philalithes said, “it provides a great user experience” as well.

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