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Vertical networks can leverage their knowledge of their consumers to sell marketers wide-ranging research and media programs, according to Active Network CEO Dave Alberga, who keynoted at the Marketplaces 2009 conference in Los Angeles.

Alberga, a former Citysearch executive in its early days, noted that The Active Network has gained a deep knowledge of 8.5 million registered users via its provision of registration software to 75,000 organizations, ranging from marathon organizers to golf courses. It has also successfully verticalized by building related Web sites that provide user-generated content and helpful tips in related areas. “We are a top 10 sports property,” said Alberga.

“We leverage our relationships and our deep understanding of the consumer,” Alberga noted. “We know who they are, what they are doing, and where they will be doing it. If you know they are training for a triathlon, you know who they are, what they are doing and where they are going to be on the given day of the event.”

Active, in fact, is cited by Alberga as a perfect example of a high-value vertical publisher. While it has relatively low user traffic, with 8 million monthly unique visitors seeing 120 million page views, its targeting capabilities are unmatched. “We provide creative, immersive experiences that go beyond the banner,” he said. Adidas, for instance, created a campaign that lets it help runners through the training process for a marathon.

“If you are vertical advertiser … [you can] vertically integrate, and take on the job of sales and research,” advised Alberga. The reward is top-level CPM, considerably higher than CPMs earned from publishers with horizontal focuses, or those that invest in automated content and audience monetization.

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