Orange to launch online ad exchange

Communications brand Orange is to launch a challenger to Google’s and Yahoo!’s online advertising sales services with the first European online advertising exchange, Orange Ad Market.

It will be open to all buyers and sellers of online display advertising. Orange Ad Market will take a flat rate 20% commission from all transactions, moving away from the monthly subscription fee model of existing global online ad exchanges.

Orange Ad Market has been in the pipeline since Orange purchased online sales house Unanimis in August; part of parent France Telecom’s strategy to increase revenues outside its core telecoms market.

Powered by web publishing technology provider OpenX, Orange Ad Market will launch first in the UK and France, then in other European markets in Orange’s port­folio. Orange is the first big regional partner for US-based OpenX, which is seeking to build a global network of major regional partners.

It will build on Orange’s existing advertising network, which launched in 2007 and claims to have 343 million monthly unique users. Advertisers will be able to bid on publishers’ inventory in a real-time auction.

Orange hopes its flat rate model and claims of greater transparency and efficiency will help it pit against market leaders Google and Yahoo!, which respectively acquired online sales houses DoubleClick and RightMedia in 2007.

Orange Advertising vice-president Luc Tran Thang says: “The Western European online advertising market is forecast to reach €12.4bn (£11.2bn) in 2011. But it is a complex and cumbersome market to navigate. We believe Ad Market is the first step in overcoming this challenge.”

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