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Firms to help sites target ads

NetGravity and Aptex unveil new features in their ad-serving technologies to help Web sites target ads to visitors based on their interests.

NetGravity and Aptex today unveiled new features in their ad-serving technologies to help Web sites target ads to visitors based on their interests.

In separate announcements, the two technology vendors edged toward the avidly sought nirvana for online advertisers and ad-supported Web sites--"one-to-one marketing." This refers to serving relevant ads to Web surfers, and thus boosting the likelihood that the ads will get visitors to respond.

Aptex, a subsidiary of HNC Software (HNCS), today announced version 2.1 of its SelectCast software for advertising and commerce servers.

Aptex claims its SelectCast 2.1 ad-targeting system can improve click-through rates, a common measure of ad effectiveness, over other targeting methods, a claim backed up by ad agency Anderson & Lembke.

The company also said its offering, based on "neural networking" technology from its HNC parent, can automatically and instantly predict demographic and behavioral profiles. Its predictions of age, gender, and interests improve over time as the software analyzes visitor behavior, Aptex said.

It uses "cookies" to identify visitors but scrambles data on individuals to protect their privacy. Search engine Infoseek uses Aptex technology to serve its ad banners.

In its announcement, NetGravity said e-commerce consultancy Fort Point Partners has integrated NetGravity's popular AdServer software with Fort Point's database tools for targeting promotions to visitors. That lets a Web site use information from internal databases, including data from customer lists, to zero in on a visitor's interests.

Fort Point's tools support Oracle databases, Microsoft SQL Server, Informix's Web Blade, Cold Fusion, and NetPerceptions, among others.

NetGravity also announced that online software distributor TUCOWS, The Ultimate Collection of Winsock Software, is using NetGravity's software for its AdServer Network, to manage advertising over its 300-plus affiliate sites.