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AdBrite puts spotlight on Facebook application ads

The online advertising firm has launched a new program for serving ads to third-party developer applications on Facebook--but what will Facebook's own advertising announcement next week mean for this sort of strategy?

Online advertising firm AdBrite is set to announce on Tuesday a new program to serve ads for third-party Facebook applications. Considering it a niche "channel" alongside existing AdBrite verticals, the company has launched a new Web-based interface so that Facebook application developers can join the program and make their inventories "instantly available to AdBrite's large base of advertisers."

The company saw it as a logical move, AdBrite co-founder Philip Kaplan said in an interview with CNET News.com. "We've just had a lot of Facebook applications signing up to use AdBrite," he said, stressing that AdBrite caters to a "long tail" demographic of many smaller advertisers and Web sites. It already powers the advertisements on Facebook Platform applications as hyped-up as iLike's music applications and as, well, viral as the "Zombies" and "Pirates" apps.

Currently, widget-focused advertising firms are limited to companies like the start-up SocialMedia, but that's about to change, considering the kind of buzz that social-network advertising, a nascent sector of the market, has been raking in. Facebook, after all, has rapidly impending plans to unveil a massive ad strategy. According to the terms of the newly announced deal with Microsoft, the Redmond, Wash.-based megalith holds the rights to all third-party ad sales on Facebook proper, but that leaves the developer application pages free for the taking--developers are responsible for their own advertising, and can keep all of the revenue. With its new Facebook app strategy, AdBrite is trying to exploit what it sees as a fairly open niche.

Some critics still say ads will never reach their full potential on social networks--we'll just have to see how it all unfolds.