AdForce Taps Net-Mercial

Net-mercial’s rich media interstitial ads found a sizable distribution channel Tuesday, as ad network and serving firm AdForce agreed to offer the products to clients.

According to the agreement, AdForce will support Net-mercial’s Prime.Space ad product and begin offering it to publishers that use AdForce’s system.

“The Internet’s utility as an advertising medium is in a nascent stage, but due to advances in creative ad technology like Net-mercials, the prospects for marketing to the online audience effectively are constantly improving,” said AdForce chief executive Chuck Berger. “AdForce’s targeting technology makes Net-mercial’s engaging advertising platform more relevant to the viewer. Net-mercial’s [ads] are an exciting new advertising option for our customers.”

Prime.Space ads are delivered to users after they click on a link, and before a new page appears. The ads take two to three seconds to load, according to Net-mercial, and can use Flash or Java-based rich media creative, including video.

Net-Mercial competitors like Unicast argue that forcing users to pause while the ads load frustrates consumers and decreases clickthrough. Unicast’s Superstitial product — which is pre-cached, instead of loading in real-time — also has wider acceptance among ad networks and publishers than Net-Mercial’s.

But the Springville, Utah-based firm is banking that Tuesday’s deal with AdForce will boost its popularity.

“Net-mercial’s offer a new and unique medium for AdForce clients wanting to capture the attention and interaction of online consumers,” said Net-Mercial CEO Chris Derrington. “AdForce is creating an opportunity for Net-mercial to reach thousands of new advertisers while providing AdForce customers the opportunity to develop revenue streams beyond the standard banner advertisement.”

The deal also comes as Cupertino, Calif.-based AdForce, a subsidiary of CMGI’s content delivery company CMGion, continues to boost its capabilities in rich media and other emerging areas. Last month, it inked an agreement to stream iVAST’s MPEG-4-based ads over its platform. And in late November, AdForce signed an interoperability deal with interactive TV advertising technology firm Wink Communications to target interactive TV ads based on programming.

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