Podtrac, RadioTail Among Those Targeting Ads to MP3 Audience

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YORK, Pa. ( -- Remember when the Internet was just a cool information conduit and the people who weren't selling porn wondered how to make money on it? That was the mid-'90s and then along came DoubleClick, iTraffic and handfuls of other ad-serving companies with business models and techniques designed to make money by selling and placing ads on Web sites.

So it's deja vu all over again, although this time in the podcasting world. Advertising aggregators and server models from companies including Podtrac, RadioTail, Audible WordCast, Fruitcast and Castfire have all been born in the past six months. While their methodologies differ, they've got the same end goal: connect advertisers and podcasters.

One of the newest, Podtrac, seeks to set itself apart by offering targeted demographic information for every podcast it serves, as well as feedback data and analysis. They plan to earn money as a percentage of the media buy.

"From the advertisers´┐Ż point of view, we will enable them to find podcasts that match their target on a category basis ... or on demographics of listeners," said Mark McCrery, CEO and founder of Podtrac. "In order for advertisers to have confidence advertising on any media, they need media management [tools], information and demographics."

Still, the comparison with the Internet bears one important caveat, and that is adoption. While Web usage soared in the early days, podcasting is likely to remain a niche medium, at least in the near term. Forrester Research estimates podcasting will reach 12.3 million households in five years by 2010. By comparison, IDC estimated there were 160 million Internet users in 1999, some five years after the Web really began gaining consumer recognition.

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