Quigo Takes to Niche Markets with Contextual Ads

A small online ad company turns to niche markets to offer an alternative to sponsored link leaders such as Google and Overture.

A small online ad player is taking contextual online advertising vertical.

Quigo Technologies Inc. on Monday launched a new content-targeted ad platform called AdSonar Exchange that focuses on matching advertisers to specific niche audiences. The company is providing an alternative to the sponsored listings offered by major search-advertising players Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc.s Overture Services, which reach a broad audience.

The service is debuting with more than 150 publishers and with a focus on the health, beauty and fitness, travel and education industries, Quigo CEO Michael Yavonditte said. Early advertisers include Priceline.com Inc.

/zimages/5/28571.gifGoogle also has been expanding its ad programs. Click here to read more about the search engine giants entry into banner advertising.

Within the specific industries, Quigo provides targeted categories. In travel, for example, AdSonar Exchange includes more than 500 targets, such as specific modes of travel or places to visit, Yavonditte said.

"Were trying to avoid the random traffic and give a more focused environment to advertisers," Yavonditte said.

Like Google and Overture, which also provide contextual sponsored links on networks of content sites, the New York-based Quigo is offering AdSonar Exchange to advertisers in a cost-per-click auction model.

But Quigo also expects to charge a premium because the ads are targeted more directly to the content, Yavonditte said. While Google and Overture usually require a minimum bid of around 5 cents to 10 cents per click, Quigo typically requires a minimum of 25 cents per click for AdSonar Exchange, he added.

In another month or so, Quigo plans to offer a private-label version of AdSonar Exchange to publishers, Yavonditte said. The company also plans to add future industries and categories, but Yavonditte said the focus will be on tight niches, not broad topics.

"What we want to do is create a series of micro marketplaces, and were slicing up the world that way," he said. "We just cant be all things to all people."

In other news in search marketing this week, a former Yahoo executive launched a new search marketing service that approaches keyword bidding like a Wall Street portfolio. Ellen Siminoff, formerly in executive roles at Yahoo for six years, is now the president and CEO of Efficient Frontier Inc..

The Palo Alto, Calif., startup on Monday launched its service for managing paid search marketing campaigns. The service focuses on managing a portfolio of words by applying Wall Street analytics to determine the bidding strategy, Siminoff said.

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