AdReady of Seattle will be facing some additional heat in the self-service online display advertising category after Google today announced a new product that allows small businesses to quickly create display ads.
“Today we released the AdWords display ad builder, which lets you create professional-looking display ads in AdWords without needing to hire a designer or start from scratch,” Google wrote in a blog post.
This is a direct assault on AdReady’s business, which is probably why SearchEngineLand notes that “depending on your point of view this is either validation of AdReady or an ‘AdReady killer.’ ”
Led by former Classmates.com executive Aaron Finn and backed with $12 million from Madrona Venture Group, AdReady has won some marquee customers recently in MSNBC and The New York Times.
But will that be enough to ward off the Google juggernaut?
AdReady is differentiating itself by focusing on media companies that are fearful of Google
In fact, Finn told me today that he believes Google’s announcement will only drive new media partners to AdReady’s white label solution. That’s because many online publishers do not want their ad inventory handled by a powerful third party. AdReady’s technology also allows small advertisers — say a car dealer or restaurant — to place display ads in various ad networks, he said.
Still, every startup fears the blog post announcing that Google is moving into its market.
That was the feeling of Finn, who said the past 24 hours have been pretty wild as the news leaked out on Google’s plans. In an e-mail to employees, Finn said he was feeling nervous, proud and motivated.
“It does make you feel nervous, but I also feel good that Google would almost identically copy what we have been doing,” he said in an interview.
Finn thinks there is room for both to operate in display advertising, but he is happy to have a two-year head start.
“When we first funded AdReady, we assumed that Google would have the ability to do display ads,” said Finn. “It always surprised us that they had not moved into display. Having a two-year year head start has been very good for us.”
– John Cook, firstname.lastname@example.org