UPDATED 12:11 EST / AUGUST 27 2009

iSocket announces $2 million Series A funding for self-serve advertising platform for publishers

image iSocket, a cloud-based advertising platform has announced a $2 million Series A round of funding, led by Tim Draper of Draper Fisher Jurvetson, David Blumberg of Blumberg Capital, Jeff Clavier of SoftTech VC, Dave McClure of the Founders Fund, and Dave Hirsch, former head of Google advertising sales. Other investors included David Cohen of Techstars, Accelerator Ventures, Quest Venture Partners, and Plug & Play Ventures.

The product, founded in 2007 by John Ramey and Zak Hassanein, is still in invite only testing. isocket aims to separate itself from the crowd, which have taken a big hit during tough economic times, by allowing commission-free transactions, and instead generating revenue through monthly reoccurring fees. The product is current invite only Beta testing period with the beta testers managing their direct sales process for banner ads. 

They hope to streamline the process for publishers by enabling interested advertisers to have a back-end process to manage their ad buying, enabling them to instantly put up an ad to their own specification and frequency. Basically they are aiming to become an automated Federated Media, without the cost of employing staff. This enables them an opportunity to charge a lower price point than the Federated Medias of the world.

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Techcrunch is one of their first customers to try the service out. One of the interesting things to note is that I believe there is a place for an automated solution, as well as a solution that is more people intensive. Some publishers may like having a team of ad sales representatives to work with on an ongoing basis and some may prefer to just have a low cost fee using web-based software. And some may want more of a hybrid model.

The value of a Federated Media lies partly in being able to direct advertisers to their network of publishers, and as a distributed ad sales team whereas large publishers like Techcrunch, with a large installed base of advertisers, can squeeze out more profit by moving towards a more automated solution. It’s the difference between technology being an enabler, and technology being the solution. Their use cases are mutually exclusive.

The important thing about the funding isn’t just the money in the bank, but with an all-star team of investors, they’ll be able to knock on quite a few doors to pitch their product. I’d expect them to sign several more big names fairly soon.


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