iVillage stirs the pot for Web advertising

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Excite, WebCrawler accept new ad terms; iVillage eyes combo

Despite initial resistance to Procter & Gamble Co.'s tough new World Wide Web media buying tactics, the powerful marketer appears to be getting its way with some sites.

P&G banner ads linking to Olean and Sunny Delight Web sites appear on search services Excite and WebCrawler, and the marketer is close to a deal to place ads on Parent Soup, a family-oriented site from iVillage. Yahoo! was the first to sell ads to P&G.

P&G shook up the Web marketplace when it said it would only buy ads if a site changed its pricing plan from the current cost per impression model to a cost per click model.

"Instead of looking at impression, impression, impression, the ultimate objective is traffic," said Jeff Mallett, senior VP-business operations at Yahoo!.

P&G ads will appear on Yahoo! for about three months; the marketer also will start a promotion on Yahoo!'s home page, Mr. Mallett said.


In at least one case, P&G appears to be moderating its stance.

iVillage Senior VP-Market Development Robert Levitan said his pending deal with P&G will combine elements of the site's current impression-based model and P&G's click-through demand.

iVillage expects to achieve a premium of 15% on the deal over typical impression pricing, Mr. Levitan said. Ads on Parent Soup cost $75,000 for six months, or 4.4 cents per impression.

P&G and its interactive buying agency, Grey Advertising, New York, declined to comment.

All of the sites say their work with P&G is experimental and they have no intention of changing their entire pricing model.


"A percentage of our unsold inventory is available for alternative or experimental [ad] models," said Rick Vorhaus, director of advertising at Excite, comparing P&G's Web buy to late-night TV direct response commercials.

But such TV time is sold cheaply, the opposite of the highly targeted, premium pricing most Web publishers want for selling on a click-through basis.

Agency executives say if P&G gets special treatment, they want it also. "If you play ball with them, I expect the same treatment," said John Nardone, director of media and research services, Modem Media, Westport, Conn.

Copyright May 1996 Crain Communications Inc.

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