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Forbes.com to Offer Streaming Ads

Forbes.com has announced that they will be implementing streaming advertising using the Zebus (www.zebus.com ) platform. According to Jim Spanfeller, president and CEO of Forbes.com, his site has always been willing to experiment with new ad forms. Spanfeller believes that the Internet has the potential to be the best advertising medium ever, but this goal will require extensive testing of new technologies.

The Zebus platform eliminates certain bandwidth issues by adapting to the end-users' situation. According to Tricia Beninghof, VP of Business Development and Marketing at Zebus, the platform sniffs the end-users' available bandwidth. If a broadband connection is available, the ad proceeds with streaming video; but a narrowband user is asked to download a utility. Beninghof states that it only takes 20 seconds to download the utility on a 56k modem, and that this utility allows the ad to appear as smooth video. An end-user that opts out of the download will see a typical rich-media ad wrapped in Zebus's interactive wrapper.

Spanfeller states that Forbes.com just recently began asking for registrations, partly to track users habits and also to have the data available for targeted ad insertion. Even without the ability to target the ad to a certain demographic, offering streaming advertising does provide "traditional" brand advertisers with an online option that allows them to use their proven television creatives.

Forbes has not yet sold the spots to any customers, but Spanfeller states that the option has only been on the market for a week. The placement issue has not yet been fully decided, but the video will likely be embedded into the "tower" advertisement that runs along side of each page.

Dr. Praveen Varma, CEO and CTO of Zebus, is also excited about his company's in-stream ad insertion technology, stating that Zebus is capable of serving the ads without every touching the source stream.

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