MSNBC Bows ServeView 'Above-the-Fold' Service

One of online advertising’s ills is that banners run all over the place—including places where Web surfers can’t see them. is looking to change that dynamic.

On Monday (Sept. 27) MSNBC is set to announce ServeView, a new ad system which the company claims will ensure that its advertisers’ ads actually get seen. ServeView has been designed so that will not display any ads below the fold (i.e. below the bottom of a user’s computer screen). As a result, MSNBC’s advertisers will only get charged for ads that actually have a chance to get viewed.

Up until now, has served few ads below the fold, according to Charlie Tillinghast, president and publisher of the MSNBC Digital Network. And the site phased out traditional banners for larger ads earlier this year.

However, Tillinghast acknowledged that the introduction of ServeView may result in the site delivering, and thus selling fewer ad impressions. But it should also lead to higher rates and hopefully more dollars. “With this product, the advertiser is assured that their ad is shown when a user is viewing the screen,” he said. “That substantially increases the value of the ad.”

And possibly increases the value of a premium content sites in the eyes of advertisers. Over the past year many traditional brands have begun employing verification services like AdSafe to make sure that their online ad campaigns run as they are supposed to. With ServeView MSNBC is looking to present itself as place where brand can breath easy about that sort of thing. And the site hopes other publishers follow.

“We hope this is a trend,” said Tillinghast. “We are trying to make a better product. And we are trying to clean up the industry.”