Google has a free Ad Manager Ok, what is Google thinking? Just a day after announcing they acquired Advertising Guru DoubleClick, Google announced they are offering a "free" ad serving platform. Similar to DoubleClick's DART, Google calls this new free hosted service Ad Manager. It's aimed at small to medium sized businesses and provides selling, scheduling, delivery and measurement capabilities for advertisements. And it's not what you think -- Google is not limiting the allowable ads only their AdSense advertisements. Some of the options available in Ad Manager include: * Inventory management: The ability to define and track inventory levels at a granular level; simple ad tag generation and management (cut and paste your code in your HTML). * Yield optimization: Integrate AdSense to fill unsold inventory or to offer competing pricing against other ad networks. * Ad targeting:You can target ads by geography, bandwidth, browser, browser language, operating system and domain. * Trafficking, ad delivery, and order booking: Choose from five delivery types (exclusive, priority, standard, remnant, or house); implement ad frequency capping per visitor; select from a number of pricing models such as cost-per-thousand-impressions (CPM), cost-per-click (CPC), and cost-per-day (CPD). * Creatives and rich media management: Rich media support from a number of vendors; free ad creative hosting. * Reporting : Report options up the ying yang all Media Rating Council (MRC) accredited * User interface: A straightforward easy to use user interface which includes search capabilities and workflows. Google isn't offering an insights into why they are providing this free service. It seems an odd move especially since it invested so heavily in DoubleClick. However, many small companies will definitely find this service enticing and a great way to break into the advertising and publishing market. You can be part of the current beta testing to see if this solution works for you. We expect that this offering is just going to propel Google even further ahead in the web publishing market.