Ad Networks Gain in Race for Clicks Online
Better targeting, rates draw advertisers away from portals like AOL
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 21, 2008 2:42 PM CDT
In this Aug. 9, 2006 file photo, Google CEO Eric Schmidt gestures during a talk in San Jose, Calif. Google reported a very strong first quarter, proving that money is still flowing into online ads.   (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, file)
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(Newser) – Once, advertisers bought web ads the way they bought TV spots: by buying space on popular sites to increase brand visibility. Now the mentality has changed, the New York Times reports: Buyers want targeted buys that produce lots of clicks for their buck. Increasingly, that means they’re turning away from pricey portals like Yahoo to specialized ad networks.

Ad networks were once unreliable, often placing ads on undesirable sites, be they off-target, too small or controversial. But these days, many networks are highly reliable and charge a fraction of what the big portals charge. “These are the gold rush days now for ad networks,” one analyst said—noting that their very appeal could mean dimmer prospects for networks' future.