‘Newsday’ Snubs Google, Introduces Its Own Version of AdSense

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By: Graham Webster

As more and more newspapers are embracing Google AdSense and other third-party context-based advertising, Newsday Monday announced its in-house answer.

The Newsday program, called Pay-Per-Click, allows advertisers to place ads on the Newsday Web site associated with specific sections, subject matter, or geographical areas. Unlike classic banner ads — which are usually paid by “impression,” or the number of times the ad is displayed — Pay-Per-Click ads are free unless someone clicks on them.

Many news Web sites use third-party services run by Google or Yahoo to distribute this type of advertising, but Tony Wills, Newsday Interactive’s general manager, said Newsday didn’t want to let another company take revenue from their ads. When the Tribune Co. made a deal with Google for the publishing company’s Web sites, Newsday, a Tribune paper, stayed out.

When advertisers want to place an ad on a specific Web site that uses Google AdSense, the best they can do is to specify a geographic area, Wills said. In addition, sites that use Google for advertising don’t develop relationships with advertisers. While this may reduce the staffing load on small operations, a newspaper that already has an ad-sales staff loses the opportunity to build contacts.

“To me that gives the relationship and the power of the advertiser to Google and not to us,” Wills told E&P Monday morning.

Michael Zimbalist, president of the Online Publishers Association, said dealing with advertisers directly is better for media companies. “The general notion of allowing a third party to intervene between a media company and its advertisers is never in the best interest of a media company,” he said.

Since the program was introduced as an unannounced “soft launch” about a week and a half ago, Wills said about a dozen advertisers had signed on. Almost all of them, he said, were not “newspaper advertisers.”

The program was publicly launched Monday, with a few uncommon strategies.

“One of the unique things we’re doing is we’re offering every business which signs up $50 worth of free clicks,” Wills told E&P.

The price of a click is determined by an automatic auctioning process. The advertiser offering the largest sum for display on a certain topic or area automatically has its ad displayed. Advertisers can then institute quotas, for instance capping daily ad expenditures at $20, Wills said.

The Pay-Per-Click program is a Newsday implementation of Quigo’s AdSonar technology.

“This Newsday-branded program allows us to continue strengthening our relationship with local advertisers, retain our ad inventory, and experience better margins, which would not be the case if we used either Google?s AdSense or Yahoo?s Overture programs,” Wills said in a statement.

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