DoubleClick Re-brands, Releases New Ad Serving Product

Internet advertising technology leader DoubleClick has officially released version 5.0 of its publisher-oriented ad management software formerly known as AdServer, also changing the product’s moniker to DART Enterprise.

It’s the first new release since the 4.1 version of AdServer, unveiled nearly a year ago, and it incorporates some of the features and philosophies that fueled the 5.0 release of DART, the company’s ASP product. DART 5.0 came out in June of last year.

The change in branding signals the New York City-based company’s desire to more closely align its ad serving products, which sprung from different origins and developed on opposite coasts. DART was homegrown at DoubleClick and is considered by industry-watchers to be the firm’s favorite son. AdServer came to the company through the 1999 acquisition of San Mateo, Calif. -based NetGravity, and it has not garnered as much attention in the industry. As part of this re-alignment philosophy, much of the development of AdServer is now migrating from the West Coast to New York.

The re-shuffling is also part of the company’s effort to shift its focus to customer verticals, rather than product lines, say DoubleClick executives. This means, for example, that the company’s products aimed at publishers will be developed and marketed in tandem. Another unit will focus on agencies, and another will be tailored for direct marketers.

As the latest in-house software version of its publisher-oriented technology, DART Enterprise provides a window into DoubleClick’s thinking about the future of the business. With this release, the company set out to incorporate better rich media tracking, streamline the ad management process, integrate ad serving into the enterprise, improve inventory management, and more smoothly work with other ad management software.

The rich media tracking capabilities of the software, which, until now, only specialists Enliven could offer, allow publishers to track user interaction within a rich media advertisement — an important capability at a time when richer media is becoming more pervasive. (DoubleClick last week said its trafficking of rich media increased 30 percent in the past four months.)

The recent trend toward cost-per-click advertising is also reflected in the DART Enterprise product. Version 5.0 aims to help publishers better manage cost-per-click buys by allowing them to set a cap on impressions served for a particular campaign. It can also help forecast clicks so publishers can determine whether such a sale would be advantageous.

Another inventory management feature incorporated in the new release allows publishers to use algorithms to predict future availability of impressions (site traffic levels). Users can also tweak such numbers by hand — making changes, for example, if a big marketing campaign is expected to affect site traffic levels.

Utilizing the same types of templates that it created for handling rich media in DART, DoubleClick aimed to make the trafficking process more uniform, and, therefore, easier and faster. The software also has the capability of converting third-party ad tags.

Additionally, DoubleClick built in new APIs to allow for better integration with other business systems — accounting, sales, etc. Although DART 5.0 utilized XML for many of its links to other software, DART Enterprise 5.0 relies on C, Perl, and Java — but the company is currently examining how best to use XML.

The DART Enterprise product competes most directly with 24/7 Real Media’s Open AdStream serving software. While DoubleClick has long focused most of its energy on its ASP product, enterprise software has always been the foundation of the rival company’s business. DoubleClick says it has migrated around 20 of its customers over to the 5.0 product.

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