For years now, ads have been a part of the Web's landscape–in the form of banners, popups, text, and overlays in video. But one place that has not seen many real monetization efforts is the image space (aside from the stock photo space). Images are a part of almost every site you run across on the Web today. It would make sense that they would be the next area to be used for ad space. That's what Image Space Media, a New York-based startup is betting on. Image Space Media (ISM), formerly known as Picad Media, is an ad network that allows publishers to monetize the images on their sites without competing with the ads they currently serve.
The process for publishers to get started is fairly simple. They sign up and submit their domain. Once ISM approves their site, the publisher is given a piece of code to paste into their site. The service also works with WordPress and Tumblr-based blogs. The appropriate ads are matched with images based on what category the site is listed under during the sign-up process, as well as the meta data around the site and images. Once the ads are placed on the images, publishers can log in to PubStop, ISM's analytics dashboard, and track which images are yielding higher earnings, as well as which are the most popular images on the site. For now, the ads that are displayed are text based, but Jesse Chenard, CEO of ISM, tells me that rich media ads will be available soon.
ISM gets about 45 million unique visitors per month. About 3,000 publishers have signed up, and the company is adding more than 100 every day. It also has hundreds of millions of impressions per month. This is a huge accomplishment for a company that has done little to publicize itself before SXSW this year. All its growth up until this point has been due to viral/word-of-mouth publicity. In January, ISM closed a Series A round with New Atlantic Ventures for $2.9M.
I can see the potential for ISM growth to become even larger as more publishers look for new ways to generate revenue.