B2BWorks Snags VNU Deal, Unveils New Verticals

Ad network B2BWorks expanded its already sizable reach this week, through a deal with the online arm of trade publishing giant VNU Business Media.

The partnership makes Chicago-based B2BWorks the exclusive ad network for the more than 70 Web sites operated through VNU’s eMedia unit. Those sites include the Hollywood Reporter, Adweek and Supermarket Business, and increase B2BWorks’ inventory by about 20 percent, according to the company.

“VNU’s sites exemplify the brand name, industry-specific sites that comprise the B2BWorks Network,” said B2BWorks founder, president and chief executive Bill Furlong. “This agreement solidifies our ability to provide business marketers with premium B2B sites, offering relevance and — most importantly — greater receptivity to marketing messages by the marketer’s target audiences.”

The deal expands B2BWorks lead over competitors, the closest of which is Engage’s B2B network. B2BWorks, which has about 500 sites in its network, dwarfs Engage’s operations, with counts 255 sites and 14 verticals. Other ad networks, like DoubleClick, handle some B2B sites, but lack a network dedicated to business advertisers.

The new sites also beef up verticals in which B2BWorks’ exposure has been limited, including entertainment-industry trade sites.

Terms of the VNU deal were not disclosed, although B2BWorks said some of its stock changed hands through the agreement. The company has historically combined representation agreements with equity deals. Its investors include Primedia’s IndustryClick, R.R. Donnelley & Sons Company, and IDG Ventures.

“We look forward to the benefits that this alliance will bring VNU, including higher revenues through banner advertising, e-mail newsletter sponsorships and other online marketing programs,” said VNU eMedia president Jeremy Grayzel.

B2BWorks this week also rolled out several new vertical markets, partically in conjunction with the VNU deal. Those new verticals, Professional Development, Entertainment Industry & Trades, and Visual Arts, bring the total number of areas covered by the network to more than 60.

“We are constantly improving our services and offerings to provide a comprehensive one-stop shop for business marketers,” said Bill Walker, B2BWorks’ co-founder and senior vice president for site relations. “With the addition of these new verticals, we enable our clients to deliver more powerful, focused marketing messages via the most appropriate Web sites in these burgeoning industries.”

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