With its AdSonar product creating some buzz in the last several months, Quigo has gradually made a name for itself in the search marketing business–not by planting itself as a bratty upstart in Google and Yahoo’s world, but by simply relying on core relationships with publishers and media firms. The humble strategy seems to have paid off, as Quigo scored a big coup last year with AdSonar by not only luring ESPN away from Yahoo’s comparable Content Match service, but adding Cox Newspapers, FoxNews.com and MarthaStewart.com to its client roster.
Now that we’re almost halfway through Q1 2007, ADOTAS decided to catch up with the goings-on at Quigo by chatting with its Chief Revenue Officer Henry Vogel, a former eBay exec who left the sunny West coast for the brights lights and big city action of New York. Through in-person chats, phone conversations and email communique, Vogel provides plenty of insight by not only tracing his career path, but the AdSonar infrastructure, its competitive advantages , as well as some surprising 2007 forecasts for the online advertising industry.
Hi Henry, so how did you land at Quigo?
Prior to joining Quigo in January 2006, I was at eBay looking after Internet Marketing and Business Development. Quigo was a partner of ours, but the more personal introduction and connection to Quigo came when Marty Abbott — the former CTO of eBay and a colleague of mine — joined in 2005.
What attracted you to Quigo?
I’m excited and passionate about high growth, technology-enabled consumer businesses. And although I left my heart in San Francisco, I got excited about what Quigo was doing, the team that Mike Yavonditte, our CEO, was building and the opportunity to be part of a company with huge upside. Without sounding too hyperbolic, I truly believe we’re in the middle of an advertising revolution, perhaps even only in the second or third innings. And I believe Quigo’s team, technology and approach can have a significant impact on the shape of that revolution.
Quigo seems to be on a hot streak having landed in short succession ESPN, CareerBuilder.com, Fodors.com. The Daily News and the Internet Broadcasting network of sites. What’s going on, why would CNN ask if Quigo is the next Google?
That was a very flattering assessment of Quigo’s future potential. While obviously not wanting to take anything for granted, we’re certainly pleased by the market reception our approach to performance marketing has received. Let’s face it; there are all kinds of way to advertise on the Internet now. I think Quigo is gaining momentum because our ad network, technology and approach offer distinct advantages for both publishers and advertisers. Put simply, I think we offer one of the most dynamic and fast-growing segments of advertising – a better mousetrap. Our premium properties and transparent approach provides advertisers with the ability to target their performance ads on some of the web’s best-known brands. For publishers we make them more money and help them own relationships with their advertisers, which gives them a strategic asset instead of just a one-time check.
Exactly what is auction-based, pay-per-click advertising and how does it differ from search or contextual placement on a given site?
Most advertisers are familiar with bidding on keywords with the search providers like Google and Yahoo!. Our bidding process is not all that different with the exception that we offer a lot more transparency. Advertisers can target nationally or locally, and bid for specific sites, individual pages or sections within those sites, and topics or keywords that are most relevant to their product or service offering. They know exactly where their ads will run and only pay when users click on their ads and come to their sites. As such, they can fully optimize their returns at a very granular level, and also gain the brand-building benefits from having their ads appear on premium websites that are most relevant to their audience.
Since advertisers can buy against keywords or bid on specific page placements across multiple sites, how is Quigo different from a contextual network like Burst or 24/7 Real Media?
That’s a great question. In many respects it gets to the heart of our approach as we’re blending the benefits of a traditional media buy with the benefits of content-targeting and pay-for-performance marketing. Traditional ad networks sell blocks of inventory, typically on a CPM basis and with varying degrees of control and assurance over placements. With Quigo, advertisers have total control of where and when their ads will appear. They know that their ad won’t end up in the backwaters of some off brand site they’ve never heard of that might be counted by an ad network as a served impression. And, 100% of our inventory is priced on a performance basis.