Searching for the Moon

Shannon Clark's rambles and conversations on food, geeks, San Francisco and occasionally economics

Launching a new Ad Network – or why this blog is a tad silent

Posted by shannonclark on September 27, 2007

In the next few weeks I anticipate seeing the above street sign more than a few times as I start a series of meetings and phone calls. Some along Sand Hill Road (and elsewhere) as we start raising money, and many others across the Bay Area (and perhaps in other states) as we line up the first partners for our new ad network, Nearness Function.

Needless to say, while I may make it to an occasional event, such as STIRR Founder’s Hacks, for the most part my time and energy for the next few weeks (hmmm probably next few years) will be dedicated to Nearness Function.

So what is Nearness Function?

Nearness Function is an ad network for dynamic content.

What does that mean?

Nearness Function is an ad network for publishers of AJAX applications, Flash Apps (and yes, this includes games), Java applications (including on mobile phones), widgets (where ads are allowed) and other forms of rich, dynamic content, the stuff that often is labeled “Web 2.0”. If you are technically inclined, think of Nearness Function as an advertising network with an API (well when we launch fully). If you are not technically inclined, think of Nearness Function as working to sponsor and enrich the most interesting and vibrant applications on the web today.

Oh, and Nearness Function is designed to also help support new, non-browser based applications – mobile applications, streaming content, and potentially downloaded content where commercial messages make sense (some videos and podcasts perhaps).

We start, however, from a focus on enriching the individual user experience. So we will not work with all advertisers, nor will we offer all types of ads (you won’t see us serving up pop ups/pop unders). Our view is that where appropriate, where the messages are highly targeted and relevant (and fully disclosed as being commercial messages) there is a valuable and enriching role for commercial messages. Not at all times or at all points in the use of an application or service – but at the right time with the right messages everyone benefits.

Individuals have a better experience and are made aware of brands and opportunities they value.

Application providers make money and have happy, even thrilled users.

And the commercial parties (i.e. advertisers) reach their targeted audiences with relevant, often actionable messages. Building brands and sparking specific, immediate actions.

How can you participate?

Nearness Function is in the very early days. As I alluded to above, we are likely going to be raising a funding round this fall. Even before that, however, we are putting together a series of trials this fall. These trials will involve a select group of advertisers and a carefully selected group of application publishers. Real ads will be placed and paid for during these trials – and the full specifications for the technology we are building will be shaped during these trials.

If you are an advertiser, willing to work with a new advertising network, and interested in reaching individuals where they are spending time and attention today (and even more so into the future) please contact me directly – shannon AT or call me at 1.800.454.4929.

If you are a software company who want to enrich your applications with well targeted advertising – whether you are delivering services via AJAX, Java, Flash, or another technology also get in touch with me directly.

It is still the very early days, but we are happy to talk with the press or event organizers about what we are building. Both myself and my business partner, David Spector, are available as speakers, either on Nearness Function or on the multitude of other projects we have each worked on in the past. Please sent a note to press AT

So if this blog is a tad quiet for the next few weeks – this is why… I’ll post when we have more news and definitely when we start hiring.

Oh and if you have examples of great (or terrible) advertising, especially as a part of a dynamic application, please leave a comment here and/or contact me directly, we are collecting best practices to publish and share with publishers and advertisers.

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