Y Combinator-Backed InstallMonetizer Is A Selective Ad Network For Desktop Software

InstallMonetizer is an ad network for desktop software developers, a group that co-founder and CEO Vince Mundy says he once belonged to himself.

“We looked really really hard to find legitimate sources of income [from free downloads],” Mundy said. “We found that there were other developers facing the exact same problem, so we created InstallMonetizer.”

If a publisher is part of the company’s network, an offer from a related advertiser will appear after a consumer installs the software, and the publisher gets paid for each install. Large desktop software companies can already make money this way, but smaller publishers might not reach a large enough audience, so by bringing a bunch of publishers together, Mundy said InstallMonetizer can “help high-quality software developers monetize the same way larger companies do.”

It’s a well-estalbished model in the world of smartphone apps, but there are similar desktop networks, too, such as Opencandy and W3i. One of the main things that sets InstallMonetizer apart, Mundy said, is the fact that the company provides non-personally identifiable data, allowing advertisers to target specific groups of users and to see whether the ads are not just driving downloads but actual usage, too.

The company also claims to be extremely picky about the publishers that it works with, checking domain ownership and anti-virus history, then ultimately rejecting 95 percent of applicants.

InstallMonetizer actually launched two years ago, and it was part of the winter 2012 class at Y Combinator, but it hasn’t sought out any attention from the tech press until now — something that Mundy attributed to just being really busy.

The company says that it now works with more than 9,000 publishers. It’s profitable, and the number of installations that it’s driving doubles every two or three months. It has also attracted high-profile investors, raising $500,000 from Andreessen Horowitz, Digital Garage, Fenox Venture Capital, SV Angel, and Transmedia Capital.