Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Another Web Ad That Wants to Eat Your Screen (With Your Permission)

Another entrant from the giant-ad-that-takes-over-your-entire-screen competition: Firefly Video, which is launching an ad network today.

Firefly’s ad unit is a mashup of lots of things we’ve seen in the past: A rich media banner ad with video that turns on if you roll the mouse over it and then takes over the whole page if you ask it to do so. If you do, you’ll watch a full video clip, followed by a survey, and get a chance to watch more clips, plus bonus goodies like maps, etc.

Easier for me just to show it to you:

FireFly is owned by Exponential, the Web ad company that owns the Tribal Fusion ad network, so the idea is that FireFly will leverage the network, which reaches about 120 million people in the U.S. FireFly will need to buy banner ad space on the network and charges advertisers only when Web surfers engage the ad.

Marc Barach, FireFly’s chief marketing officer, figures that his company will be buying space at costs that start at $3 for every thousand views and that he’ll get something like one percent of viewers to click on the ads. Which means he’ll have to charge advertisers the equivalent of a $6 to $10 cpm* for his company to make money.

So far, Barach has been able to convince marketers, including Hyundai, Nissan and Procter & Gamble (PG), to give him a shot.

And in case you’re wondering, you won’t be seeing these ads on Apple’s (AAPL) iPhones or iPads anytime soon: Like nearly everyone who sells video advertising, FireFly is using Adobe’s (ADBE) Flash, at least for now.

Here’s Barach’s take on the standards Holy War, via email:

“We are currently flash-based and for the immediate future are going to focus our efforts on tapping into the rapidly growing appetite for flash-based video on the web. However, there’s no reason why we can’t offer our functionality in html 5. Our intent is to stay close to our customers and when there is a desire to add iphones/ipads to the mix we’ll be right there with them.”

*An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported the rates FireFly intends to charge advertisers.

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There’s a lot of attention and PR around Marissa, but their product lineup just kind of blows.

— Om Malik on Bloomberg TV, talking about Yahoo, the September issue of Vogue Magazine, and our overdependence on Google