Glitz alone won't sell the glut of unsold ad space on the Net--that takes new advertisers. Budding Internet ad network Flycast is pursuing an interesting course.
Garrick wants Flycast to sell lots of low-priced ad banners to direct response marketers, rather than pushing more costly banners on well-known sites to advertisers who are eager to build their brands.
The categories of image vs. direct response ads are classic in the ad trade. Brand or image ads aim to raise a company's visibility or improve its reputation; direct response ads are designed to produce a sale.
Image advertisers favor prime-time TV and glossy magazine spreads. Direct response media include junk mail, late-night TV, and those annoying phone calls that interrupt dinner.
"The Internet is a much better medium for response advertisements than branding ads," Garrick asserts, noting the ease of responding online and the underwhelming impact of ad banners.
But direct response advertisers generally don't want to pay the premium rates brand-name Web sites charge--$30 to $100 per thousand impressions for big technology sites. Instead, the likelier targets are specialty sites that sell at much lower rates: $5, or even less for chat sites--around $2.
Garrick's solution: To go after direct-response advertisers, aggregate banners on cheap sites. What matters is the price and the response--the content quality, subject matter, or time of day are irrelevant.
"It's a very good model," he said, noting that DoubleClick, which had some 2,200 advertisers last quarter, also sells direct-response ads.
Senior writer Tim Clark, an avid telecommuter, has worked as a reporter and editor for 22 years, including stints at trade pubs Interactive Week and Advertising Age and editing gigs at San Jose Mercury News, San Francisco Business Times, and Palo Alto Weekly. Under his guidance, the business weekly won national awards for its coverage of the 1989 earthquake, while PA Weekly won statewide honors in its early years. NEWS.COM is his fourth start-up publication. He covers electronic commerce, Internet security, intranets, and online advertising and composes a weekly column on Internet commerce. He is married with two teenage children.