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  1. #1
    Affiliate Marketing Consultant Andy Rodriguez's Avatar
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    Coming soon: Your friendly neighborhood pop-up ad

    BY MICHAEL POLLICK

    If Bob Feather has his way, you'll be flipping from one Web site to another one future night when a local advertisement comes floating along the bottom of your screen.

    "Order Suzy's Pizza now," the ad might urge. "20 percent Internet discount. Free Local Delivery in Venice and Englewood …"

    Have you ever wondered why that doesn't happen already?

    The answer: As pervasive as Internet advertising has become, nobody yet has put together a mechanism for inserting local ads on the screens of subscribers.

    Enter the 44-year-old Feather, a former Cheetah Technologies equipment designer, who has been building his own dream machine for the past five years.

    Last October, he quit his day job to push his new patent-pending technology on a full-time basis.

    Feather is the president and chief executive of Infrastructure Engines L.L.C., maker of the "Content Insertion Engine."

    This patent-pending combination of hardware and software allows an Internet Service Provider, or ISP, to insert its own content onto subscribers' screens whenever they are using their Web browsing software.

    That could mean weather reports and Amber Alerts, about abducted children, but in the real world it is likely to mean ads.

    Feather is asking $35,000 for this potent gizmo, which resides on the Internet provider's equipment rack along with routers and modem banks.

    "I told the patent attorney, if this takes off I will be the most hated guy at the Internet."

    Trying it out in Venice

    On the island of Venice, in a spare bedroom that is crowded with computer gear, Feather is getting his first chance to try out the engine on real live Internet customers.

    George Emigh, who owns the Internet provider Access Unlimited, agreed to try out the machine with his 700-plus Internet subscriber customers, who pay $19 per month to go on the Internet.

    Emigh is being very careful not to offend them, using the engine only to send out missing children alerts and other public service announcements.

    Most of the messages have been programmed so that they only show up once an hour. They materialize in a bottom corner of the Web browser screen, and go away on their own in 15 seconds.

    Like most Internet providers, Emigh has no advertisers, and, in general, is on the same side of the Internet advertising fence as most of his subscribers.

    "I hate pop-up ads and I hate spam," he said, referring to the unsolicited e-mails that now flood most people's baskets.

    He is very conscious of both the potential and the pitfalls inherent in Feather's new device.

    By adding local ads for the first time, he could pick up enough extra revenue to lower the monthly fees he charges customers, making him more competitive with the AOLs and EarthLinks of the world.

    The caveat: "It has to do it without being a new spam medium," he says.

    In a class by itself?

    When you see the engine at work, it is hard to believe that it does not already exist, that nobody has thought of it and done it already.

    Yet Feather is confident enough that he and his co-inventor, Joe Kelley, also of Sarasota, have gone through the expensive and time-consuming job of applying for a comprehensive utility patent, a mission that included a thorough patent search.

    "If somebody has got it, they are hiding it," Kelley says.

    A top Internet researcher at Gartner Inc. in Stamford, Conn., confirmed Feather's claims that his equipment is in a class by itself.

    Walter Janowski, director of research at the firm, which has 4,000 consultants, has talked with Feather and is aware of the Content Insertion Engine's capabilities.

    "I'm not aware of any other one that can do it without putting an application on your desktop," Janowski said, referring to two other innovators in Internet advertising: WhenU and Gator.

    Those companies ask users to voluntarily download software into their home computers. It monitors the consumer's activity and throws in ads when appropriate. For example, if Ford were a WhenU sponsor, the Ford ad might pop up whenever the user was reading about General Motors.

    Emigh said the engine is nothing like that.

    "It doesn't pay attention to what they are viewing. It only inserts content after the http request is passed back to the browser. It is not designed to blast a competitor's ads."

    Still, Janowski points out, any Internet operator who adopts Feather's novel machine will be treading a fine line.

    Is the Internet operator pushing ads in general to everybody it serves, or is the operator analyzing customer data and using that to determine what ad is sent to whom?

    "Once he starts doing that he is crossing over into areas of customer data privacy," Janowski said.

    Paul Tulenko, whose column aimed at small businesses appears in more than 100 newspapers, including the Herald-Tribune, reacted even more negatively.

    "That is a real invasion," said Tulenko from his home in Albuquerque, N.M., when he heard about the engine. "I can't delete it like I can an ad for Viagra in my e-mail. Unless he also gives me a way to delete that, I am not interested in that and I will change ISPs in a flash."

    Alluring proposal

    Feather makes an alluring financial argument in favor of his ad insertion process.

    The average home computer user spends 11 hours and 20 minutes online every month, according to A.C. Nielsen, which monitors media usage.

    If the Internet provider can sell enough ads to run one every 10 minutes, each user would be exposed to 68 ads.

    "So if you charge $10 for 1,000 insertions, that is a penny per insertion, and that means you have an increase for revenues of 68 cents per month per subscriber," Feather says.

    Multiply that by the number of eyeballs on screens that a company such as AOL or Comcast handles, and you start to get the picture.

    Comcast has 4 million users, so this number would translate into $2.7 million per month.

    Less than a decade old, Internet advertising is already a multibillion-dollar affair showing cyclical ups and downs. Last year, advertisers spent $6 billion on the Web, down 16 percent from 2001, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau.

    At present, portals like Yahoo! account for 50 percent of all Internet advertising, says Nielsen Net Ratings, an A.C. Nielsen company.

    ISPs and telecommunications providers such as Verizon, which double as ISPs, are in second place, with 13 percent of the Internet ads.

    The portals might not like the engine, but the connection providers might like it very much if they could use it to get a bigger piece of that Internet pie.

    http://www.heraldtribune.com/apps/pb...07&cachetime=5



    Andy Rodriguez,
    Online Advertising / Affiliate Marketing Manager

    TigerDirect.com
    P: (305) 415-2313
    E: andy.rodriguez@tigerdirect.com

    Parasite Free in 2003!

  2. #2
    ABW Adviser Panel Dynamoo's Avatar
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    Does this goes in at the ISP end? Heck, I'd change ISPs.

    But.. give me an opportunity to have highly geotargetted ads on my sites - really a cleverer variation of AdSense - then I'd definitely be interested.

    Hmm.

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  3. #3
    Domain Addict / Formerly known as elbowcreek Thomas A. Rice's Avatar
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    - - - - -
    Content Insertion Engine
    - - - - -

    Yeah, that's a great name for it, and he knows where he can insert it, too.

    "Nothing like a nice piece of hickory."
    -Preacher, Pale Rider

  4. #4
    I like traffic lights
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    >nobody yet has put together a mechanism for
    >inserting local ads on the screens of subscribers

    Bullshit. No one he_knows_of_ has put together the mechanism.

    Jimmy James Inc. fan club membership # 3312

  5. #5
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Hell this was all part of the ebiz plan for NetZero (and other) freebee ISP services. Advertising sales to offset the costs of providing a free service. Add in the FreePc craze and your right back in the height of the .com Bubble. Will the Ad whores corrupt this technology.....sure they will. After all they are still working on ways to feed you Ads while your having sex.

    Mike & Charlie ...

    If they won't adopt and feed a bird ..flip them one! BBQ some Gator and remember to flush WhenU..

  6. #6
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Even I would change ISPs rather than have that!

    @ Ecom-- Maybe a temperature & motion-sensitive ad for the ceiling and headboard...glow in the dark!

    Hmmm...maybe the ads could say,

    "Did you remember your TROJAN???"

    ~Revenue is King

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador Andy's Avatar
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    I'll tell you one thing for sure, and two things for certain:

    If the ISPs start serving ads within their own network, it won't be welcomed by anybody, and they're fools if they think it will.

    I would change my ISP before having ads force fed to me. I pay for high speed cable, and that's what I want, with no strings attached. The price I pay for cable is certainly enough for my ISP to make a generous profit.

    Bad, bad idea...

    Andy

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  8. #8
    ABW Ambassador Sam Bay's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Leader:
    Even I would change ISPs rather than have that!

    @ Ecom-- Maybe a temperature & motion-sensitive ad for the ceiling and headboard...
    ~Revenue is King<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    No ads for men?

  9. #9
    ABW Veteran Student Heyder's Avatar
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    I think it's a fine alternative to pay idea. Nothing is free and nothing should be free.

    Goal: to earn one dollar without working for it.

  10. #10
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> No ads for men? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    The position involved would determine who sees the ad...

    And in any case, the view of the lower sheet would be blocked so there's no point in advertising *there*!

    ~Revenue is King

  11. #11
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Heyder:
    I think it's a fine alternative to pay idea. Nothing is free and nothing should be free.

    Goal: to earn one dollar without working for it.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    As an ALTERNATIVE, it'd be fine! It's when they decide to bombard people with pops *along with* charging that people would start looking for new ISPs...

    ~Revenue is King

  12. #12
    ABW Veteran Student Heyder's Avatar
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    Yeah if they wanted both I'd tell em to stick it up their @rses.

    Goal: to earn one dollar without working for it.

  13. #13
    ABW Adviser Panel Dynamoo's Avatar
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    You could print the ads onto toilet paper, that tends to be an environment where you'll read absolutely anything. Or maybe Microsoft could print their licence agreement on it.



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  14. #14
    Full Member tmd5's Avatar
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    Hmmmm ..... ads on toilet paper - interesting idea - wonder why no-one does that - sensitivity to ink on delicate parts perhaps? Billions of people look at toilet paper every day and if they saw an ad they liked they could always tear off and keep that piece - hmmmm - I think you've got something there Dynamoo

    "Can I sell the sh*t and will the merchant pay?" ~ Leader

  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador Radegast's Avatar
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    [QUOTE]Originally posted by Dynamoo:
    You could print the ads onto toilet paper, that tends to be an environment where you'll read absolutely anything. Or maybe Microsoft could print their licence agreement on it.
    QUOTE]
    Nah - there isn't room on my toilet paper for anything other than Margaret Thatcher's face...

  16. #16
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    C'mon, nobody wants their ad to be sh@t on...

    ~Revenue is King

  17. #17
    ABW Ambassador qball0213's Avatar
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    It would be kinda limited, how many ads would be appropriate, preperation H and ads for their toilet paper, which you are already using. Can you see a flashing Eat at Joe's on your toilet paper, hehe.

  18. #18
    ABW Ambassador
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    These jokers are definitely not the first to think of this.

    Though, I can't say I know of anyone actively doing it at the moment (at the headend)...

  19. #19
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    Maybe not currently but Prodigy had 4 ads in boxes across the bottom of the screen about 15 years ago. I remember that's why I dropped them. That and they thought it was okay to edit members email. Bunch of religious nuts.

    Ray

    Of course the above is only my memory of things, which is sometimes faulty.

    If it's slick, it's not sticky.

  20. #20
    ABW Ambassador
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    IIRC that was all (not the email editing..) done client side, though..

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