RMX Direct: alternative ad networks battle for your blog

rmx direct logoNew York based RightMedia has launched a beta version of a new advertising system that lets website publishers participate in multiple ad networks and automatically display ads from whichever network will pay the highest price per impression for their ad space in real time bidding. The service, called RMX Direct, also has a filtering system to prevent malware distribution through ads and enforces publisher criteria.

RMX Direct will officially launch in September but is opening up beta accounts now. RightMedia has offered a more complicated enterprise version of the system since April 2005. While the enterprise system has more than 50 participating ad networks to chose from, RMX Direct is starting out with only 8 but will increase in time.

Publishers who get paid well by AdSense are unlikely to gain a whole lot from RMX Direct, but many users are liable to find better payment through competing alternatives.

The most likely use scenario is for site publishers to tell the system what CPM they get paid by AdSense (not a participating network, so calculating from CPC if needed) and then join a number of other participating networks. In instances where another network would pay more than AdSense, then that network’s ads are displayed. The bidding includes factors like geographic location of each impression and conversion rates for the site and user (cookies). Bidding goes on in real time relative to predetermined campaigns – the enterprise version of Right Media currently runs 30,000 auctions per second.

Ad placement, size and other factors can be administered through the RMX Direct dashboard, publisher preferences can be set and a forum can be used to discuss and rate the various networks. It’s quite a straightforward system, given how complicated the options are and how early it is in development.

The MediaGuard system is particularly interesting. Ad based malware hit the headlines last month when thousands of computers were infected from ads served up on MySpace. RMX Direct runs all the ads from participating networks through an automated tool that tests each one for spyware, popups and ActiveX installs. RMX Direct won’t show any ad if it detects any of those. The ads then go through 2 human editors who tag them with terms like distracting, dating and sports.

Publishers can chose which categories to block. Ads can even be blocked on the basis of excessive punctuation, the presence of the word “Free,” sexual orientation or disability based attacks or religious content. Those are just a few of my favorite criteria on a long list. As you check off boxes to block ad types by tag, the percentage of available ads in the system changes in real time. It’s a fun system to use.

Future developments will include RSS reporting, blog platform plug ins so that reporting data can be viewed from your blog’s dashboard and more.

Looks like an interesting and innovative system that could work well for publishers seeking to leverage alternative ad networks.
rmx direct screen