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Are You Using an Ad Portal? And If Not, Why Not?

Just 22 percent of publishers did last year.

Tony Silber By Tony Silber
02/23/2009 -16:51 PM

In an era where every penny of incremental revenue counts—and the time to find it—it surprises me that only 22 percent of respondents to a FOLIO: survey last year said they use ad portals.

It's doubly surprising because often printers provide portals to their customers, making the process almost completely decision-free.

Ad portals automate the process of shipping both editorial and advertising files to the printer. They rely on a Web interface that tracks when a file is received by the printer, and they allow magazine production staffs to approve pages after a review of the page online.

With virtual proofing becoming the norm—and color-management no longer a major concern because of digital processes—ad portals represent a logical progression.

So why are so many companies still doing things either the old way—uploading files via FTP—or the really old way: shipping files via FedEx?

Think about it: Wouldn't you want a real-time process where you can sell an ad in the morning, get it from the advertiser in the afternoon, upload it and before 5 p.m. have the software tell you instantaneously whether the ad meets the printer's production requirements?

Given that e-media sales require a lot more project management and hand-holding than print, isn't it valuable to automate the print advertising process in any way possible?

Well, it may be that both small and large publishers are catching on to the value of portals. Just last week, Meredith Corp. signed on with a portal provider. And earlier this month, both Condé Nast and regional magazine Connecticut Cottages & Gardens said they, too, are now using portals.

Tony Silber By Tony Silber --

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