AdReady CEO and Former aQuantive Exec Karl Siebrecht on His Big New Opportunity

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actually have [display] budgets larger than search budgets. If you’re really big, you can get display to work quite well. If you’re small, you’re not even in the market.”

On which lessons from aQuantive are applicable to AdReady: “When I joined aQuantive, there were less than 150 people,” he says. “We went through some real peaks and valleys there. The important things to stay focused on were creating value for customers, and building a great team. Brian McAndrews [former aQuantive CEO and now a managing director at Madrona] was a great leader in terms of keeping people grounded. He was able to lead the organization in that exuberant time [pre-bubble], and when things came crashing down.”

On the key challenges facing the company: “Business has done very well, we’ve had a very good year in a tough economy,” Siebrecht says. “We’ve got a great foundation, we’ve got some real optimism heading into next year. We just have to be very thoughtful and focused in terms of how we want to grow. The overall market is poised for a much better next year. We need to grow very aggressively, but make sure we’re doing it in a managed way. So we’re not disappointing any customers along the way.”

On the competition: “There are lots of companies in the general space,” he says. “Some companies have built versions of our creative tool but don’t have the media buying platform. Google bought Teracent [a display-ad company] to automate the building of banners. There are some companies that have a very basic version of our service, or are trying to sell to super-small advertisers out there.”

On what we’ll see from AdReady in 2010 (mobile ads, for example?): “We’re considering that,” he says. “We’re taking a very customer-centric approach. It’s a relatively easy thing for us to do [mobile]. It’s on our consideration list. We take our cues from the customers. It’s not universally No. 1 across the board. There’s not tons of mass there yet.” In terms of the overall ad market, he says, “I think the worst is over. Will there be significant growth next year? I’m not betting on it. We’ve hit the bottom. 2010 will be better than 2009 in terms of the overall market.”

On how the company plans to expand in a crowded field: “We’re looking to grow organically, doing more of the same,” he says. “We view the world across a few different customer segments: partners and indirect [like Yahoo]; direct advertisers [like Alaska Airlines]; and recently our fastest growing segment, [ad] agencies.” The bottom line: “We’re not trying to eke out market share. We’re going after a market that doesn’t have any alternatives.”

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Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and Editor of Xconomy Boston. E-mail him at gthuang [at] Follow @gthuang

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