Updated below, with a viewpoint contesting our views, a statement from People Group CEO Anupam Mittal on why the People Group tied up with Publicitas

June 14th 2010: A year after its Ad Sales team moved to AdMagnet Select and People Interactive appointed AdMagnet as its site representation business, Anupam Mittal’s People Group has split ad-sales responsibilities between Publicitas Digital and AdMagnet Select. Publicitas Digital will represent Shaadi.com, Fropper.com and Makaan.com in Delhi & NCR, Karnataka, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala and Gujarat, while AdMagnet Select will handle ad sales in Mumbai & Maharashtra. So was AdMagnet not willing to sell beyond Mumbai and Maharashtra, or did People Interactive think Publicitas would do a better job?

Update: We’ve received the following statement from People Interactive: “Further clarifying on People Interactive’s alliance with Publicitas Digital, Anupam Mittal, CEO & Founder – People Group adds, “The key reason for appointing Publicitas Digital is that for Matrimonial advertising we need to get into smaller cities as well and Publicitas has presence there. AdMagnet has done a great job and so we continue with them but have added Publicitas to supplement our revenues.”

Both in terms of unique users and pageviews, People Interactive adds significantly to Publicitas Digital’s offering to advertisers:

For the month of May 2010, People Interactive accounted
for 96.18% of Publicitas Digital’s inventory in terms of pageviews, and 66.9 percent of unique users, dwarfing Reuters India, which accounts for 1.74% of pageviews, and 15.51% of unique users. These are, of course, internal figures shared by publishers with the sales house, and we assume advertisers would look into the quality of the pageviews, not just the quantity. In case any of our readers has access to Comscore numbers, do tell how similar/different the following numbers (xls) are.

In a statement released by the People Group, Mittal says that while ad sales is not their core business, “Now that the revenues have scaled up and the model is proven, the upside is best left to the specialists. We hope to increase our revenues to up to 40% in the near future through our partnership with Publicitas Digital.” Remember that before their ad sales team moved to AdMagnet, People Interactive had set up People Network, a South Asian focused ad network.

AdMagnet has brought on board advertisers including Hindustan Unilever Ltd., Citibank, Garnier, State Bank of India, Raymond’s, DELL & Malaysia Tourism to People Interactive properties. We wonder how many of them were clients of Interactive Avenues. In the past, we’ve raised the flag on the issue of independence of ad networks in India.

Other instances of e-commerce/classifieds businesses outsourcing ad sales:

MakeMyTrip (and LinkedIn) to Networkplay
– Ebay.in to Komli Media

Update:

One of our readers contests our view that certain ad networks aren’t independent of the agencies that their parent companies run. Up to you to make up your mind; On the suggested bias – all we can say is that our statements were without motive:

From “Bias Free Journalism”:

Here is the list of agencies working on the accounts you mentioned.

Hindustan Unilever Fulcrum/OMD)
Citibank (TrbalDDB/Regalix- NRI banking / Interactive avenues – Credit cards )
Garnier (Interactive Universal Lodestar)
State Bank of India (Interpub)
Raymonds (RK Swamy)
Dell (Interactive Avenues – consumer /Mediacom – business/enterprise)
Malaysia Tourism (Beehive)

Raising the issue of adnetworks vs agencies is like beating a dead horse. Considering how small the online industry is, it is impossible for adnetworks to suceed unless they are supported by ALL agencies: networks HAVE to be independent to survive. Its a free market.

One of the world’s biggest adneworks 24/7 Real Media is owned by WPP. Yet WPP rival agency groups Omnicom/Havas/Dentsu/Publicis/IPG support 24/7 realmedia. Likewise WPP agencies support other ad networks.

Ad Magnet , Tyroo , NetworkPlay are independent companies, and the ONLY link with agencies is the SAME VC/Investor. These networks have to live and die on their own. Entire industry seems to be aware of them as indpendent companies except Medianama.

Related:
– Neville Taraporewalla To Join As India Head Of Microsoft’s Advertiser & Publisher Solutions Group