Bluestreak Unveils New Ion Ad Server

Online advertising firm Bluestreak announced the launch of its Ion 3.0 ad server, which the company touts as giving clients better workflow tools and real-time reporting of ad campaign features like return on investment.

The Newport, R.I., company said the third-party ad server began shipping to clients a couple of weeks ago, offering customers the ability to serve any ad format, including rich media, and tools to track how they perform.

“This release underscores our commitment to make ad serving as easy to deploy and as cost-effective as possible for the user,” said Anurag Ahuja, Bluestreak’s vice president of product marketing.

After speaking with a number of the company’s clients, Ahuja said the company looked to improve the ad server by taking out extra steps for clients juggling multiple campaigns with multiple creative teams. Ion 3.0 allows customers to edit as many as 20 placements at once, instead of handling them individually. The ad server also boasts new reporting functions, such as reports showing the progress of a media buy with real-time automated notifications.

Bluestreak said the improvements would allow its client base, which includes Temerlin McClain, MBNA and Allstate, to save money by cutting out wasted time on extra steps in the media-planning process.

“They lose money because they lose a lot of time,” said Annette Tonti, Bluestreak’s chief marketing officer. “Because human beings have to be involved in these campaigns.”

Bluestreak has evolved from its roots as a rich-media firm to become a full-service online ad company, in the mold of a DoubleClick, although it’s more of a “boutique” player.

In August 2001, the company rolled out its Ion third-party ad server. The following month, Bluestreak acquired Engage’s ad management and optimization service, AdKnowledge. In May, Bluestreak added e-mail marketing to its portfolio by inking a deal to acquire Plano, Tex. e-mail marketing company e2 Communications.

In addition to competing industry giant DoubleClick’s DART platform, Bluestreak also faces competition from Avenue A’s Atlas DMT unit. The ad-server industry lost one of its early leaders last week, when Engage sold off the last of its online ad businesses to its management. The spin-off, called Accipiter Solutions, says it intends to stay in the business.

Tonti said Bluestreak welcomed the chance to compete with bigger companies like DoubleClick.

“We’re able to take business because the market wants choice,” she said. “If you have healthy competition, you have a real market. This is a market that’s healthy enough to support more than one” player.

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