New Software Could Topple Internet Ad Structure

13 February 2001

The present structure of advertising on the internet could be turned on its head by new software developed by Meltingpoint, a small privately-owned UK company.

Currently, dotcom operators and other website owners earn some or all of their income from online ads. According to Meltingpoint, less than one per cent of these are clicked-through by surfers and advertisers are eager to better their hit rates.

Meltingpoint claims that its software enables advertisers to do just that by overlaying their ads on those already appearing on any specified site. This, the company argues, effectively transfers advertising control from site owners to ISPs, allowing the latter to exploit their detailed customer profiles.

Chief executive Julian Graham-Rack is now touting the software to ISPs who, he explains, “already have detailed information about [their] customers and can, using the software, target advertising at them much more closely than a standard web page."

The technology opens up a legal can of worms and site-owners are unlikely to stand idly aside while a major revenue source passes to ISPs. Some argue that the software infringes site owners’ copyright.

Not so, says Graham-Rack. Meltingpoint has taken legal opinion and is advised that there is no infringement of page-owners’ rights because the software simply overlays the site and does not alter it.

As one cynical onlooker observed, while the contentious software may enrich neither site owners nor ISPs, lawyers will, as ever, make a killing.

News Source: CampaignLive (UK)