By JOHN SPOONER
San Francisco-based startup Flycast Communications is poised to make a run at establishing a presence among ad buying networks such as DoubleClick and Softbank Interactive. Its first move came last week when it inked a deal to share data with Focalink Communications, a provider of Web advertising planning and buying tools.
The companies will collaborate by feeding information into each other's on-line advertising services and products. Focalink will provide its MarketMatch Web site profile information from its 800-plus members to FlyCast's AdAgent software, which allows media buyers to plan and buy campaigns in real time on-line.
In turn, FlyCast's AdAgent will supply data on Web sites, their inventory availability, rates and CPMs to Focalink's MarketMatch service, said Flycast president and chief executive Miles Walsh. He said this is the first of several major ventures Flycast will enter with other Internet advertising technology companies over the next month.
Along with more partnership deals, Flycast is also working to expand its network of sites. To date the company claims about 70 sites as clients, including Windows95.com, PCWorld Online and PCQuote and smaller sites such as ChatHouse. Walsh said his goal is to reach a 'critical mass' of 100 sites by August and sign up 1,000 by the end of the year.
A former vice president of marketing at publishing software house Macromedia, Walsh joined Flycast in April. 'We are positioning ourselves to be at the center of all things Web advertising,' said Walsh, describing FlyCast as a 'real-time coach between buyers and sellers' that will help customers sift through the on-line media buying process.
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