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By: Joe Nicholson

Ad Placement Service Moves To Increase Speed

from this week’s Editor & Publisher magazine:, an ad placement service, has upgraded its Web-based
system to increase efficiency and speed, the firm announced. The
system’s improved software also makes possible delivery of high-quality
color ads.

The 3-year-old, Seattle-based company spent more than $100,000 for a
number of new servers and added server capacity for its upgraded
worldwide system, which links together 42 servers in Seattle, New York,
and London. To make the system easier to use, the firm said it has
boosted software efficiency and purchased more bandwidth.

Last year, handled more than 75,000 transactions,
which typically involve an ad agency or advertiser sending an
advertisement to a newspaper. Reflecting newspaper advertising
generally, 95% of the ads transmitted by are black and
white. transactions, which involve hundreds of millions of
dollars of advertising a year, have increased steadily, the firm
reported. The rate of transactions has now reached 100,000 a year, and
firm executives expect it to reach 130,000 annually by the end of the

‘Our system we like to call ‘electronic plumbing,” said Thomas J.
Culligan, executive vice president for marketing. ‘It’s how you get it
done. ‘A lot of the things that the system is doing is getting rid of
the problems that face buyers when they make a print buy,’ said
Culligan, who noted problems have included ‘the difficulty of gathering
planning information, the complexity of massive numbers of insertion
orders going out, the activity involved in collecting tear sheets, and
the resolution of billing discrepancies.’

Culligan estimated that as many as half of all newspaper ad invoices
have traditionally contained errors and claimed his system has cut the
rate to only 10%. The errors that remain typically involve
misunderstandings about provisions in ad contracts, he said.’s upgraded system uses software it developed to
exploit Adobe’s portable document format (PDF); it has named the new
part of its system,

Its system enables clients such as ad agencies and newspapers to do
transactions online, including selection of a schedule of newspapers –
‘What paper on what day and what size,’ explained Carleton W. Bryant,
executive vice president for technical and business development.

Bryant was the conceptual architect of the system, which
took the firm’s programmers and consultants several months to make

‘Our typical customer is a heavy user of newspapers,’ said Bryant,
referring to customers such as Young & Rubicam New York, Hertz, and
Bell Atlantic.

Depending on an ad’s cost, the fee per insertion order for a newspaper
generally runs from $40 to $90. The system was designed to make
delivery of art to multiple publications as easy as sending it to a
single publication.

Although more than 95% of the firm’s business is American, its system
can move traffic around the world. The firm has offices in Chicago and
Los Angeles, in addition to those in Seattle, New York, and London.


Joe Nicholson ( is associate editor
for Editor & Publisher magazine.

(c) Copyright 2000, Editor & Publisher

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