Fastclick Offers Text Ads

NEW YORK Ad network Fastclick moved to expand its ad options by introducing a Google AdSense-like program of text advertising on content Web sites.

Fastclick Text Ads operate similarly to Google’s popular AdSense program, allowing publishers to sign up to run text links on their Web sites. Fastclick will direct the text ads through its optimization technology that targets advertisements based on previous user responses to ads and other factors.

Google’s success with AdSense has created a crowded contextual advertising space. Google rival Yahoo plans to release an AdSense competitor soon, and other networks like Industry Brains, Kanoodle and AdBrite offer similar services. Google last week said it would expand the AdSense network to include graphical branding ads.

Fastclick, which recently went public, operates an ad network that places ads on over 8,000 Web sites, reaching about 119 million Internet users in March, according to ComScore Media Metrix. The Santa Barbara, Calif.-based company buys remnant inventory on Web sites to run performance-based advertising, often sold on a cost-per-click basis, targeting the ads using its optimization technology.

Publishers using Fastclick text ads will be able to choose the color and shape of the ad units. Advertisers pay each time a consumer clicks on their text advertisement.

The introduction of text ads could alleviate Fastclick’s reliance on pop-up ads, which are increasingly susceptible to blocking technology. In a March filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company reported 51 percent of its 2004 revenue came from pop-up ads.