You may have noticed a proliferation of underlined terms on websites around the web. I am referring to the double-underlined words that pop up ads when you mouse over them. These ads are called intelliTXT and supplied by a company called Vibrant Media. Perhaps others supply them as well but this company seems to be the only one supplying the ads to the sites I have visited. You may have noticed intelliTXT as it currently runs on TMCnet, our blog site and other sites that are part of the TMC Family.
The readability of these ads is excellent. They are in your face but at the same time don’t really alter the reader experience a great deal.
The ability to generate revenue in yet another way online explains the popularity of this new ad medium. A recent discussion in my office with TMC’s Robert Hashemian centered around Google missing the boat on this new trend. Imagine if any of the major search engines, Yahoo!, MSN or Google owned this technology.
Google with it’s Adsense program is the most logical company to acquire Vibrant Media whose website by the way says their IntelliTXT technology is patent pending. If the patents are really forthcoming and any good, this company makes a natural takeover target. Google is in a great position because it can instantaneously make intelliTXT accessible to its thousands of publisher partners overnight. There are hundreds of millions of dollars if not billions on the table if this were to happen.
The question that I keep pondering is what is the next sort of ad we will see on the web? In my opinion Vibrant Media ads are not targeted closely enough to the context of a story. For example you can read an article about an organization and the word organization is a sponsored ad for Microsoft pitching their retail management solutions. The point is better targeting can be done with some more effort. Adsense does a better job of targeting because it seems to absorb the meaning of a page. Adsense is by no means perfect and I expect it, Vibrant Media and other advertising companies to be working on ways to integrate more accurate ads based on web content and meaning.
In the mean time keep an eye on Vibrant Media. Google, Yahoo! And Microsoft are no doubt salivating at the thought of taking this company over any day now.