The last block of companies at TechCrunch50 on Monday included three advertising startups. All were focused on making ads more interactive or targeted.
First up was ByBurt's Copybox. It's a scripting language for advertising text. Based on where a user is, the weather where they are, and other variables, it adjusts the text in the ad and pushes it into ActionScript (Flash). Could lead to some scary ads that appear almost clairvoyant. I also predict some great ad text bloopers.
Adgregate Markets makes online ads into fully-functioning stores. Basically it's a widget platform. The pitch is that, currently, users don't buy online goods from ads because they don't want to leave the site they are on. Ok, but I am not convinced that squeezing transaction functions into a widget is going to improve sales. Except for low-cost impulse purchases. Maybe that's enough for this business.
The TechCrunch judging panel liked this service, and also noted that Adgregate Markets could be used to sell products on a site that's about the products themselves -- in other words, as a sales engine on a commerce site, moreso than an advertising platform.
AdRocket is an advertising system that pushes ads through e-mail status updates ("BACN") and RSS feeds. The system takes info that's going into the e-mail and uses it to help target advertising.
"There's no spam," the presenter says. My take: Not until you ad advertising to the e-mails. Then it's an open question. But nonetheless, this is smart business. Most people get regular e-mail from social networks and content sites that don't have smart -- if any -- advertising in them. Might as well plaster those transmissions with ad messages, right?