Hardware

Review: OpenX Ad Server

The OpenX Ad Server solves a problem that can quickly become overwhelming for any company management a revenue-generating Web site - ad management.

So your company has a Web site where the stated purpose is to generate traffic and revenue. The idea of content-centric Websites driving revenue has been a hot topic since the late '90s and no matter how you slice it, it always comes back to advertising. Ad revenue is the major player in Web site dollars. Along with this comes the complexity of serving up those ads.

You can take a few paths to bring ad serving to fruition. One path is OpenX Ad Server. This tool is an open source ad serving platform that can be run on either your local server or from a hosted service. It's is used by more than 150,000 and more than 300 billion ads run through the OpenX Ad Server per month. OpenX is robust and powerful.

Requirements

  • Web server that supports PHP 5.14 or greater (5.2 recommended)
  • MySQL (5.0) or PostgreSQL (4.1) database server (recommends UTF-8 encoding)
  • Additional vendor information

Who's it for?

OpenX is a serious ad server. Any company (and by any I mean any size or size-needs) that has a need to serve up on-line advertising will benefit from OpenX Ad server. And if you are a company that doesn't have the hardware to dedicate to an ad server (although the requirements aren't much) you can always use the hosted services. Either way OpenX Ad Server is a must-have for anyone needing to do some serious ad serving.

What problem does it solve?

OpenX solves a problem that can quickly become overwhelming - ad management. When you are in charge of managing numerous advertising assets you come to know how complex this can be. OpenX Ad Server makes this job simple with plenty of management tools that allow you to serve to specific Web sites, zones, and channels. With the OpenX management console you can manage individual ad banners, campaigns, zones, and more. With OpenX you can serve up as few or as many ads as you need.

Standout features

  • Simple management console: Manage all aspects of your OpenX server from one easy Web-based console.
  • Outstanding report generators: Generate many different types of reports from single ads to global reports.
  • Easy Web-based installation: Installation can be completed in less than five minutes with an easy Web-based installation tool.
  • Robust plugin system to expand your installation: Add as few or as many plugins (widgets) as you need. Once installed, plugins can be enabled or disabled with a simple drag and drop.

What's wrong?

There are very few issues to take up with OpenX. One issue is the inability to customize the site look at and feel. Even though this site is only seen internally it would be nice if OpenX could be customized to match the company look and feel without having to edit CSS or PHP files. Another issue is the inability to create a single banner that is not associated with a campaign. Although it is rare that you would need to do this, it could be beneficial to be able to have a few default banners to use across campaigns.

Competitive products

Bottom line for business

If you need to serve up banner ads for yours or another company's Web sites, you would be seriously remiss to overlook the OpenX Ad Server. This tool is as flexible and robust as any proprietary software yet does not have the heavy cost associated with equal, proprietary tools. OpenX was made for the bottom line and is pure profit.

User rating

Have you encountered the OpenX Ad Server? If so, what do you think? Rate it and compare the results to what other TechRepublic members think. Give your own personal review of the OpenX Ad Server or let us know if you think we left anything out in our review above.

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About Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.

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