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Zedo Ad-Serving Technology Puts Consumers in Control

By Sarah J. Heim
July 23, 2001

Web Surfers Choose the Types of Banners They Want and Don't Want

Web surfers are used to being in control: They pick the content they want to read, listen to the MP3s that suit their tastes and chat online with like-minded Netizens. But when it comes to banner ads, consu-mers have had little say in the kinds of ads delivere d to them.

All this might change as San Francisco-based Zedo turns the ad-serving model on its ear. Rather than collecting data on users' behavior or making guesses about which ads might inter est Web surfers, the 4-month-old company is handing the ad-serving reins to consumers.

"On the Internet, each person is in control of his or her own destiny," said Zedo president and CEO Roy de Souza. "So we said to ourselves, 'Let's ask the consumers what [ads] do they want?' "

Zedo's ad-serving technology runs on the client side, which means that Zedo does not gather or store data about individual users like ad-serving giants DoubleClick and Engage do. The company has developed two products specifically for Web publishers, edgeServing and self Targeting.

EdgeServing is an ad-delivery infrastructure, whereas selfTargeting is the technology that p uts the consumer in the driver's seat. SelfTargeting can be used with the edgeServing infrastructure or with other existing ad-serv ing technologies.

When a user visits a selfTargeting-enabled site, a pop-up menu asks the user to select an ad channel. These channels most often consist of the publisher's most saleable inventory, such as ads fr om the automotive, music and electronics industries.

After a user picks one of the channels --say automotive-- the individual will then only see car ads. Along with giving the power of selection to the user, selfTargeting also enables Web sites t hat have high reach, yet a disparate user base --such as chat and news pages-- to pinpoint users' interests without relying on compl ex cookie-based data.

Zedo recently signed a deal with the ezboard community Web site. Earthlink and RealNetworks are currently testing the new product.