Google Launches Free Ad Server for Publishers

Ad Manager is Google's answer for helping smaller publishers serve ads.

Google wasted no time turbo-charging its online ad delivery two days after closing its $3.1 billion deal for DoubleClick, unveiling a free software service that lets Web publishers sell ads and monitor how well they do.

Ad Manager, launched in beta March 13 and hosted by Google, is not a quick-and-dirty offering from DoubleClick, whose Revenue Center caters to publishers with larger sales operations. Rather, Ad Manager is designed to help publishers with smaller sales teams sell display, text and even video ads.

Noting that publishers tab ad networks such as Google AdSense to fill their ad space, or use DoubleClick Revenue Center to serve ad inventory and partner with third-party ad networks to fill unsold ad space, Rohit Dhawan, senior product manager at Google, wrote that publishers are challenged to manage their inventory and make sure campaigns serve on time.

Hence Ad Manager, which boasts a tagging process so publishers can spend more time working with their advertisers and less time on their ad management. The tool's inventory forecasts and ad performance monitoring capabilities could help publishers boost their ad sell-through rates.

The service comes as Google begins to integrate the DoubleClick behemoth, which passed muster with the European Union Tuesday.

Microsoft, the Center for Digital Democracy and some publishers protested the buy, arguing it would give Google unprecedented power in the online ad market. With DoubleClick, Google can look forward to better targeting ads to users.

Google will not require Ad Manager users to carry ads from its AdSense system but the search vendor is banking on the notion that publishers will plug AdSense ads into spots they haven't filled themselves. Per custom, Google would take a commission on these ad sales.

Moreover, Ad Manager doesn't require exclusivity, which means publishers can use other ad management and ad-serving products or switch to another provider. Users can also use any ad network you like.

Google Ad Manager is available to publishers by invitation only, but here is the Ad Manager site for those interested in the program. Google will add additional publishers when it expands the Ad Manager beta program.

Google has created a page with rousing beta tester testimonials here.