Run a Web site or blog and don't know which of the several advertising networks to use? Just use Google AdSense and call it a day. No, wait, that's not right. PubMatic has an alternate idea: Get competing ad networks (Google, Yahoo, ValueClick, Komli, and BlueLithium for now; more to come) to bid for your site's eyeballs.
PubMatic has a clever model that brokers your site's traffic to the various networks, and swaps out their ad modules depending on which one pays better. The service also continuously modifies the layout of ad modules and tries to lock in the ones that work best for your site.
There's also a cute widget (for the Yahoo Widget Engine) so you can track your site's ad performance in near real time.
The service is free during this beta phase. Considering what the service does, that's the deal of the century. But as a business model, it's insane. This service is as much about inserting itself in the economics of Web publishing as it is about the technology it does to do so. And the people who run this product should have an idea of how it's going to be part of that economy, or at least should be experimenting with ways how. If, as founder Amar Goel says in e-mails and press materials, his service was able to increase ad revenue 90 percent on a customer's site, and if PubMatic isn't confident enough to extract a piece of that bounty for itself, there's something that doesn't add up. In his defense, Goel did tell me he plans to charge for the service, but first he wants to drive adoption.
PubMatic is participating at the TechCrunch 40 event and is opening up to public beta today.