Already under fire for its racy videos, Heavy.com now wants to bring all of the online-video world into its sticky embrace. Heavy has mastered the art of selling advertisers on wrapping Web videos with advertising banners, like the example above. Surrounding the video itself is a come-on for newly released movies or other similar fare, paid for by advertisers eager to reach Heavy's young-male demographic. But as BrightRoll CEO Tod Sacerdoti points out in a not-safe-for-work blog post, the result isn't always good for an advertiser's brand. Heavy's anything-goes website is already dangerous territory for advertisers. But a new initiative, Heavy's so-called "Husky Network," could make it trickier yet.
The Husky Network takes Heavy's ad wrapper and offers it to other video sites, letting them share a cut of the revenues. Mashable, the Web 2.0 review site, says Heavy's money would be welcomed by most publishers, but the wrapper could be "distracting." Distracting, of course, would be a good thing for an advertiser. But based on the videos Sacerdoti spotted, it's hard to imagine that viewers would be paying much attention to the ad.
I spoke to Sacerdoti to get his thoughts on the Husky Network. He notes that BrightRoll, which places video ads for clients, could in theory be viewed as a competitor to Heavy's new network, but he wasn't aware of Heavy's plans to get into the ad-network business when he wrote the post. And in practice, he says, BrightRoll places ads on more professional video websites, not the user-generated sites Heavy hopes to draw in.
So take Sacerdoti's comments with any requisite grains of salt. All the same, he's got a point. If the already out-of-control content on Heavy's own video site makes advertisers uncomfortable, what will they think about their wraparound banners getting sold on anything-goes independent video publishers?