Affinia, a company that enables small Web sites to create their own shopping portals, today launched a product-advertising network that links advertisers' goods with closely related sites.
The goal of the Mountain View, Calif., company is to create advertising marriages made in cyber heaven--for instance, placing ads for pink Cadillac postcards and the Blue Hawaii video on Elvis Presley sites. It scouts out specific Web sites, as opposed to categories, that complement advertisers' products or services, and then creates ads for those sites.
Affinia is targeting the new service at midsized Web sites. "We're aiming at the hundreds of thousands of medium-sized sites with 250,000 impressions per month minimum," said John McCrea, Affinia's vice president of business development.
The company is entering a field dominated by established advertising networks such as San Francisco's Flycast (soon to merge with Engage Technologies, Andover, Mass.), New York's DoubleClick and 24/7, also of New York. But Affinia officials say their advertising network offers something different.
"The emphasis is contextualization; we're site-specific, as opposed to ads that go to specific categories," McCrea said.
Flycast, for example, gives advertisers a choice of "run-of-network or category buys," according to Lyn Chitow Oakes, chief operating officer of Flycast.
Affinia also provides advertisers with a template placing vertical ads on the right-hand side of the screen, rather than the traditional horizontal banner at the top of the page. It is already possible to obtain vertical ads and left- or right-hand placement using products such as Flycast's Valet, but an advertiser must specifically request the desired elements, then place them on the page. Affinia said its template is designed to make the process easier.
Affinia has lined up partnerships with advertisers including Barnes & Noble of New York and PlanetRx of San Francisco. Negotiations with other major companies are in progress, according to the company.