In-stream advertising network Ad.ly, which launched last year, is moving beyond just advertising on Twitter today. The startup just announced a deal with MySpace to allow the social network’s members to insert in-stream ads in their activity streams. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Ad.ly, which will continue to advertise on Twitter, links up advertisers with users and then distribute links to marketing campaigns through the user’s tweet streams with full disclosure. Ad.ly’s recently launched self service platform platform enables Advertisers to connect with any user who signs up for Ad.ly’s service. So for example, an advertiser for Dell could choose which Twitter power-user to pitch their ad too and then submit a bid to a particular user. The publisher then approves or denies the request. Once the publisher approves the Tweet, the message is sent out via their account by Ad.ly.
Beginning today, MySpace publishers can visit this site on the network to sign up with Ad.ly and create a profile. Once registered, publishers can decide which messages from advertisers they want to support and Ad.ly will deliver the approved messages into the activity stream, similar to the arrangement with Twitter. MySpace feels that Ad.ly is a prime opportunity to allow others, particularly musicians, filmmakers and celebrities on the network, to monetize off of their stream.
This isn’t the first time that MySpace has inserted ads into the stream. The social networks began inserting ads in-stream earlier this year. But the deal with Ad.ly is one of the first with a third-party in-stream ad network. It’s interesting that Ad.ly has engaged in a formal deal with MySpace (where we’re assuming there is money exchanging hands). We’re assuming that Twitter doesn’t have a similar monetization deal Ad.ly but after COO Dick Costolo’s announcement last week, this may change.
Costolo addressed Twitter’s long-term strategy and updated TOS last week, which was thought to ban in-stream ads and affect in-stream ad networks like Ad.ly. However, Ad.ly was quick to respond that their service does not violate Twitter’s TOS and will continue to operate as is. Ad.ly founder Sean Rad echoed these sentiments to me, saying that the new TOS do not affect Ad.ly.
Regardless of where Twitter goes with banning ads in the stream, Ad.ly is wise to diversify its network beyond Twitter, which seems to be figuring out its own monetization and advertising strategy. And armed with $5 million in new funding, Ad.ly should be ready to improve its product with new features and iterations.