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Forbes.com stops displaying IntelliTXT in their news stories

Forbes.com began running IntelliTXT ads in their site in June. At the time, they were Vibrant Media’s largest client of their IntelliTXT contextual advertising program, and both Forbes.com and Vibrant Media received much publicity about this partnership, including in the New York Times. However, Forbes.com has pulled the plug on IntelliTXT on all their news stories, according to this article at DMNews.

IntelliTXT has been a hot topic for site owners, because it blurs the line between what is and is not advertisement, and it can be quite intrusive to Joe Surfer visiting a site. IntelliTXT works by scanning a page for keywords, then double-underlining those keywords. When a surfer mouses over those keywords, a little popup displays with the advertisement in it. The surfer can then choose to click the ad or move the mouse, resulting in the popup advertisement disappearing from the page. (You can see it in action in Vibrant Media’s flash demo). Some publishers report better earnings with IntelliTXT over other contextual advertising programs, including Google AdSense.

Ad inventory for IntelliTXT is powered by their own listings, and supplemented by Overture’s ContentMatch contextual advertising program. It has a small market share, despite being distributed through Vibrant Media, Burst! Media and Tribal Fusion. And there are definitely limitations. For example, it is only viewable in Internet Explorer 5 or higher. And their publisher reach is very small – only 250 publishers, according to their Advertiser FAQ.

But DMNews reports that they are getting a larger reach.

The Sunday Times (UK) and PricewaterhouseCoopers recently named Vibrant Media the second fastest growing private technology company in Great Britain. Their report put the company’s 2003 sales at $5.5 million. Vibrant expects to generate $25 million in sales this year.

Vibrant Media boasts that IntelliTxt has response rates 24 times that of banner ads and outperformed Google AdSense listings relegated to banner placements. Stevenson said IntelliTxt links garner click-through rates of 1.4 percent to 3 percent.

With such a high profile publisher pulling listings off a significant portion of their page views, it will be interesting to see if others follow suit.

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