I found a hidden gem in Israel. A little startup that with less than 10 people and no VC funding was able to bootstrap its own ad server and 15 million daily ad impressions. The startup is AfterDownload, an eight month old advertising network based in Israel. The company is focused on re-thinking software advertising, in particular download software and plugins. Since launching in February, AfterDownload has quickly established itself as a significant player in the digital software advertising market, serving over 15 million ads daily, generating over 40K clicks. They are the first company specializing in the monetization of after-download pages (“thank you” pages) using their own fully developed ad-serving platform.
Omer : I have been online since 2002. I was a VP in one of the leading online marketing agencies (best seller in Israel) and am also an attorney, in online related law. l launched Afterdownload in February this year after doing some investments on my own.
Liron – I’ve been in the online marketing scene since 1999, in the last six years has been involved in the online software vertical in the context of affiliate marketing. I invested in quite a few other startups.
VC Cafe: What have you accomplished with AfterDownload to date?
Afterdownload: We’ve laucnhed in Feb 2010. the basic idea of the company was original and simple: the “thank you” page after a download is completed has been usually ignored. We did some testing, saw that the results were good, and decided to jump on it.
We started with monetization of Firefox addons, and managed to get our ads displayed in some of the leading FF addons. Today we work wiith most of them. AfterDownload is essentially like an AdSense solution for software related products.
VC Cafe: What part of AfterDownload’s operation is browser plugin monetization?
AfterDownload: Today Firefox add-ons represent approximately 15% of our inventory. We created a targeted adsense solution for software publishers. While we started by monetizing the ‘thank you’ page only, today we do much more. We know how to monetize the download page itself and managed to close direct deals with many of the client software providers, especially in the field of security.
VC Cafe: So how would you summarize the services provided by AfterDownload in the field of advertising?
AfterDownload: Site wide advertising, either with widgets, banners or text line ads. We’re able to secure some of the leading PC related software.
VC Cafe: Can you tell me a little about the technology you’ve used to build the service?
AfterDownload: The platform was desgined from scratch using PHP. It’s scalabale and has a real time analytics platform.
VC Cafe: Who would you consider as your most direct competitors?
AfterDownload: Our competitors can include a wide range of ad networks, however, our focus on software has provided us with a strategic leadership position in this market and our ads see much higher click-through rates than the industry standard when utilized properly.We’re the first company that targeted the after download pages, so we’re the leading source there.
Omer: In addition, we’re in the field of software distribution so you could say we compete with OpenCandy, etc.
VC Cafe: Let me undertsand the economics.How do you set the price of a PPC?
AfterDownload: Most of our advertisers have a product to sell. For example, any anti-virus, offers a trial. The advertiser is able to choose from a list of a pre-determined PPC rates for the software.
VC Cafe: And how often do you update the PPC rates?
AfterDownload: Quite often depending on demand.
VC Cafe: As an advertiser, what uptake can I expect to get using the network?
Omer: almost all our inventory will be relevant to you, we do have advertisers who are getting thousands of daily clicks.
VC Cafe: Are the ads published only in English?
AfterDownload: we work with our advertisers to provide the proper text, help translate if necessary.
VC Cafe: What other monetization vehicles do you use?
AfterDownload: We have a toolbar patent which rotates ads within the toolbar, so we can generate additional impressions by rotating our ads in existing toolbars. When we approach a toolbar owner, we can offer him to install the ads on the toolbar itself, the after download page and the download page – a complete solution. We also know how to display our ads inside some applications.
VC Cafe: In terms of next steps, what’s ahead for you guys? How are you scaling?
AfterDownload: We already 15M daily ad views. The click through rate varies. On the AfterDownload we have a very high in CTR (4-5 to 10%) but if the page is designed in a way we know is optimized we get much higher than the rest of the market.
In the future, our goal is to become a leading platform for software distribution and monetization.
VC Cafe: (as I’m sure many VCs would like to know) Are you looking to raise funding?
AfterDownload: We welcome strategic partners, who can help not only financially but with connections in the market.
VC Cafe: How many people are you in the company?
AfterDownload: total of 7. Two developers (we’re in the process of recruiting for more) and the rest doing marketing and sales. In a couple of months we will probably double.
I was impressed with the Afterdownload team and their accomplishments so far. In the following links, you can see several examples of publishers who are displaying AfterDownload ads: