Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Jared Kopf's AdRoll Rolls Out of Private Beta - Plus An SVW AdRoll Experiment

Posted by Tom Foremski - April 15, 2008

I've been a fan of the astonishingly young and talented Jared Kopf for a while, ever since I met him several years ago when he was working with the astonishingly young and talented Max Levchin at Slide.com, (and part of the Odessa mafia :-).

Jared is smart much smarter than his years (and many peers) and he has already paid a lot of dues. For the past two years Jared has been working on a new project the launching of AdRoll, an advertising network that seeks to link up advertisers with community-specific networks of small online publishers.

Normally I'm not a big fan of advertising networks. They charge too much and they are not a defensible business because online publishers can potentially handle their own advertising once they reach a certain size.

Adroll.gif But AdRoll could turn out differently. We'll see how its blend of social marketing tools and ad serving technologies disrupt some of the larger networks such as FM Publishing, Adbrite, and BlogAds. AdRoll can certainly give them a run for their money and more. [BTW FM Publishing just raised as much as $50m.]

AdRoll today emerged from private beta and is now in public beta. Anyone can sign up on their web site and recruit other web sites, set advertising prices, etc. Advertisers can buy space on an AdRoll network in one lump without having to verify out each individual site and make individual deals.

Media buyers like to buy large numbers of the same type of audience. AdRoll rolls up many smaller audiences into a larger single entity and takes a cut of between 20 to 30 per cent of revenues in return for serving the ads and providing a collection of management tools.

"Smaller brands can use AdRoll to connect with communities that they wouldn't be able to reach through larger online publishers," says Jared.

Challenges...

Earlier this year I spoke with Adify, which has a great console and can place ads at different times, sites, etc and also allows people to create their own networks, and it takes about a 20 per cent share of revenues. Adify might be a bigger challenge for AdRoll. FM Publishing takes a larger cut but it goes out and sells ads which AdRoll does not.

A young man's game...

Still, pricing is a flexible thing, and servers are cheap--it'll be the design of AdRolls' technology and its relationships that will determine success. Jared and his colleagues are young, with a low cost of operations (and no family support payments yet), which means AdRoll can dig in for the long term while other ad networks that have taken on large investors don't have that luxury.

BTW I think ad networks will start to acquire online publishers... more on that in a next post.

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Join a Silicon Valley Network...

I'm going to try out AdRoll and I've created a Silicon Valley Network of like-minded web sites that includes Silicon Valley Watcher. So if you have an online site, a blog, or even a company product or service, sign up with my Silicon Valley Network. We'll share in the ad revenues and see if there is money to be made in these types of advertising networks. I've set quite a high CPM of about 1 cent per impression, after all there is no sense (as in Google AdSense) in devaluing your brand.

Send me an email tom(at)siliconvalleywatcher.com if you are interested in exploring this further.

Here is how AdRoll works in 45 seconds:

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