Magnify.net, a Web site that lets users build and curate their own video sites, on Wednesday plans to give users control over the ads on their sites in addition to the content.
The company said it will begin testing its AdShare Network, which will offer users a say in how they monetize the video sites that they created using Magnify.net's tools.
Magnify.net sites already include several types of advertising, including Google AdSense ads and, in videos that originated on Revver.com, integrated ads. The company shares 50% of the ad revenue generated from its users' video sites with the sites' creators.
The new AdShare Network aims to allow video site creators the flexibility to broker more lucrative deals with advertisers willing to pay a premium for access to a targeted audience.
Steve Rosenbaum, founder and CEO of the Magnify.Net, attributes his company's decision to create a more open ad network to being flamed by blogger Wayne Porter.
Porter, senior director of special research at IM security company FaceTime Communications, built a Second Life video site and published a blog post complaining about Magnify.net not being open enough with its users, Rosenbaum explained.
"Almost the minute I read it, we took his blog post and put it on our discussion board and asked our users, 'What do you think?'" said Rosenbaum.
Rosenbaum describes the moment as an epiphany. "Why don't we let our most successful channel partners show us where the advertisers are?" he said.
The arrangement has the added advantage of letting those partners have access to their own ad metrics, rather than having to rely on Magnify.net's word on how ads performed.
Magnify.net claims that its users have built over 10,000 video channels since open beta testing began in January 2007, and that it received seven million page views in July.
While that may be a far cry from the 44 million unique users who visited YouTube in July, according to comScore, Rosenbaum isn't trying to catch YouTube. Rather, he expects its audience to fragment and gravitate toward niche sites. "The world is getting more atomized, not less," he said. "There's not going to be another YouTube. There're going to be 10 million YouTubes."