It's easy to be cynical about ad networks. I remember a media exec I once had drinks with who equated the online ad business to prostitution: "They are the only two major industries working on prepayment basis because both promise much bigger fantasy than they ever deliver."
Like I said, easy to be cynical.
Recently though, an ad network came my way that has interesting twist. Its name is Traffilliate and it doesn't serve banners, keyword ads, or paywall offers – all it serves are landing pages.
Developed originally as a for-internal-use-only tool at media group DMG, Traffilliate treats landing pages as the creative, serving the best converting ones to end users. Traffilliate currently serves some 5 million landing pages a day, which end up producing 30,000 conversions.
There's not much set-up required to get going. The only resource-intensive aspect is generating several landing pages, done in advance by the advertisers or their agencies. Once the campaigns are pushed out, the actual decision-making of which landing page to serve a given user takes less than 30 milliseconds.
Other than the ad network model, Trafiliate also offers itself as a service. Traffilliate as a Service, or ‘TaaS', is meant for advertisers that want to buy media outside of Traffilliate's network. When used solely for conversion analysis and serving Traffilliate prices itself at half a cent per landing page served. Support for major ad servers comes out of the box. These include: DoubleClick, Google Content Network, Microsoft adCenter and Right Media Exchange.