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Alibaba launches free China online advert service [reuters.com]
Alibaba, China's largest e-commerce firm, launched on Wednesday a free online advertising service, Alimama.com, with the goal of being the largest within five years.
Alimama.com, a wholly owned unit of Alibaba.com Inc, is targeting small-to-middle sized websites, but did not reveal a timetable for when it would begin charging for the new service.
"The goal for Alimama.com set by Ma is to acquire the largest share of online advertising in China within 3-5 years," said Wu Yongming, general manager of the company, referring to Alibaba founder Jack Ma.
There are two ways to purchase ad space via Alimama. First, the direct or customer-to-customer (C2C) model, where advertisers design online ad campaigns and select ad space by themselves and make a transaction with a website publisher directly; Second, there is the business-to-customer (B2C) model, where Alimama puts together online ad inventory with a targeted audience, and then sells that to advertisers as a package. In this model, Alimama salespeople negotiate with potential advertisers and their agents.
I don't see any mentions of the word 'free' anywhere in the article though. It does say this:
We charge a 10% commission on CPS ad "Tao Ke Tui Guang", and charge a 15% commission on CPC and CPM ads; there is no commission for CPT ads. However, we are considering not charging any commission for all ads through the C2C ads trading platform. Alimama will only charge for ads sold via the B2C platform.
I may have mentioned in previous posts that we have commissioned a site in China. Trading ads with others sites would give us the opportunity to launch our new site with a lower cash outlay that I expected. In the medium term we could switch to CPC.