May 242010
 
Image representing PlaceLocal as depicted in C...
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NO costly copy writers or heirs of “Mad Men” are needed to write a new kind of ad for small businesses that want to advertise on the Web: computers create the ads instead.

New software called PlaceLocal builds display ads automatically, scouring the Internet for references to a neighborhood restaurant, a grocery store or another local business. Then it combines the photographs it finds with reviews, customer comments and other text into a customized online ad for the business.

The program, developed by PaperG, an advertising technology company in New Haven, Conn., is aimed in part at small businesses just beginning to advertise on the Web sites of local newspapers or television stations, said Victor Wong, its chief executive. Such advertisers will have a growing number of choices as national companies like ESPN create local Web franchises like ESPN New York, said Randall Rothenberg, the president and C.E.O. of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, a trade group of more than 400 companies selling online advertising.

PaperG’s PlaceLocal is simple to use, said April Koral, co-publisher of The Tribeca Trib, a community newspaper in lower Manhattan. She tried the program to see how well it could create a display ad for a local Tribeca restaurant — a job usually done by hand at the paper. “All you have to put in is the company name and address,” she said.

Then PlaceLocal takes over, gathering basics like telephone number, hours of business, maps and directions, and adding positive comments extracted from local blogs. Samples of ads may be seen at www.paperg.com, the PaperG Web site.

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