A former local sports reporter taking on the might of Google's AdSense has received financial backing from a regional development fund.
Former Norwich Evening News reporter Rick Waghorn has received a six-figure sum from the Finance for Business North East Proof of Concept Fund to develop his online advertising company Addiply.
Addiply is aimed mainly at independent local bloggers and claims to be far more flexible – and more financially rewarding – than its rivals.
Addiply allows users to reject ads they find inappropriate and set their own advertising prices for local businesses.
Prices can be set to a cost-per-thousand (CPM) model, a pay-per-click deal, or on the more traditional deal whereby ads can be bought for either a week or a month at a time.
Publishers also get to keep 90 per cent of all revenue generated.
The remainder will be split between Addiply and PayPal, which is used to handle transactions.
Waghorn, who continues to run the myfootballwriter.com website, runs Addiply alongside directors Ian Thurbon and Matt Waring. They have been joined by two non-executive directors: former Rothschild banker Kevin Joyce and the former CEO of Friends United, Andy Baker, who is now the MD of EMAP's health and local government division.
'Our aim is to offer a simple, transparent solution to one of the great conundrums of our times – how web publishers can better monetise their online presence and gain greater reward for their publishing efforts,'said Waghorn.
'We're not setting out to be the new Google AdSense – rather we believe we are just one part of a new digital age of community engagement and collaboration.'
He said: 'Now we can empower local and niche publishers – both big and small – to set their own advertising agenda, select their own ad placement and choose their own ad rates. To be masters of their own advertising destiny, in short."
The Addiply service is used by 400 advertisers across 220 niche online publishers in the UK – mainly bloggers and hyperlocal sites – though a French property portal was recently signed up.
US Dollar and Euro versions of the software platform have already been built.
The company has appointed North-East blogger Louise Northwood as its first full-time employee. She will be Addiply's 'brand champion'in the region by 'forging links with potential advertisers and community publishers as well as building a network of affiliates".
The Finance for Business North East Proof of Concept Fund is managed by Northstar Ventures and backed by the European Regional Development Fund, European Investment Bank and One North East