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

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