Cygnus Interactive Advertising Technical Specs


Updated Sept, 18, 2006




Contacts

Please contact your advertising sales representative for more information on opportunities on specific Cygnus Web sites.
General Requirements

Cygnus Interactive and its respective Web sites support most industry-standard online advertising delivery mechanisms, including Rich Media (Flash, Video, etc.)

  • While advertisers have creative liberty designing their ads, Cygnus Interactive reserves the right to decline any advertising; for example, ads mimicking "alert" windows or false computer message screens.
  • Ads should not be designed to blend in with the site, do not mimic editorial fonts or colors.
  • Advanced frequency capping may require a third party.
  • Ads should not include fake form elements of other graphic symbols that mimic functionality that does not exist.
  • Cygnus Business Media reserve the right to ask for revisions or reject any advertising it deems, in its sole opinion, not in keeping with its standards. Opinions expressed within the message boards are those of the author and do not reflect the views of Cygnus Business Media.

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Banner Specifications

General Materials Guidelines

  • Animated GIFs should have at least two seconds between frames, maximum of six frames.
  • All banners must be sized at 72dpi resolution.
  • Cygnus Business Media reserves the right to reject advertising based on content, user impact, distraction factors and other situations as determined by the staff.
  • Ads with a white or transparent background must include a 1 pixel-wide border.
  • Banners may not "Flash" messages which overly distract the user.
  • All banners that are submitted to Cygnus Business Media via e-mail must be uncompressed (not zipped).
  • ALT (Mouseover) text should be no greater than 10 words.
  • All banners and advertising, when clicked, will launch the linked site in a new browser window.
  • Banners must be designed so that interaction with the user only takes place if the user places the mouse within the advertisement area.
  • Advertisers may make banner or other creative changes or additions every two weeks, following the time guidelines below, although we prefer advertisers to send us multiple banners at one time and have them scheduled any way you would like throughout your campaign.
  • Flash advertising and/or animated gifs are no longer available in e-mail newsletters or blasts at this time. Therefore, all banner ads that are meant to appear in E-Newsletters must be static images.

Available Types and Maximum Sizes

Below are the size limitations for GIF/JPG/Animated GIF banners.

Separate requirements and information on Rich Media (Flash) banners are reviewed later in this document.

Ad Unit Dimensions Max File Size
Leaderboard 728x90 30K
Skyscraper 120x600 30K
Skyscraper Wide 160x600 32K
Medium Rectangle 300x250 30K
Toppers * 160x50 15K
Banner 468x60 16K
Button 120x60 10K
Tile 120x90 10K

* Toppers presently only available on Firehouse.com, Officer.com, and EMSResponder.com.

Not all add units are available on all sites. Be sure to speak with your sales representative regarding specific positions on your targeted Cygnus site(s).


Deadlines for Client Submitted Materials

Please allow 5 business days to process/load simple image and GIF animated ads and 5-7 business days to process all other types of creative. Specialize rich media ads and e-mail creative may require longer lead times, see below.

.
Need Banner Creative Done For You?

Before we can create your banner, you will need to work with your marketing team and ours to determine the best strategy and a clear, concise design plan for your banner(s).

This includes:

  • Providing a URL or direct graphic image(s) to be included in your banner(s) including company logo, products and other related images.
  • A clear concept to include marketing slogans and the mission of your campaign to more rapidly assist us in preparing your banners.
  • Materials may be submitted in Zip format to minimize file size. Clients should avoid sending files zipped using stuff-it expander (common on Mac platform). While some clients may use MAC platform to create their graphics, we prefer those graphics being converted to .eps files. We may be able to open quark files (commonly used for print ads), but some graphic elements critical to the design maybe lost in conversion from MAC to PC. Converting to .eps file will solve this problem.

For campaigns where Cygnus is your 'Creative' source, please allow up to 8 business days before your campaign begins for banner creation, approval and placement. This includes up to five business days for banner design from receipt of all needed materials, up to two days for client approval, and one business day typically. Any adjustments to creative will require additional time to adjust the design/product.

Please add two additional business days for additional five banners to be created for your campaign.

Campaigns where creatives follow multiple concepts and designs, or more than 10 banners, will be handled on a case by case basis.

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Rich Media

Rich Media 101

With some exceptions, we primarily follow Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) recommended Rich Media standards.

Use of Rich Media requires that Cygnus Interactive have ample time to test Client-Submitted and Cygnus Created advertising products.

All rich media ads are tested on a matrix of browsers and platforms before posting. This process requires a MINIMUM of FIVE business days to test rich media for performance, stability & compatibility.


General Requirements

  • We reserve the right to refuse any rich media that does not function properly in this testing environment.
  • We are not responsible for fixing code that does not function properly or causes other problems.
  • Creative must open a new browser window when clicking thru to another site.
  • Floating ads (such as Eyeblaster) must include a prominently visible close button and may not run more than 15 seconds
  • Advertising requiring the use of plug-ins like Flash and Shockwave must utilize "sniffer" code to detect if the user has the required plug-in and display an alternate image if the user does not have it. That alternate image (JPG/GIF) must also be included when submitting materials.
  • Flash advertising is not available in e-mail newsletters or blasts at this time.

Audio and Video

Cygnus Interactive follows IAB and accepted industry guidelines for non-assumed broadband connections.

  • Any interaction with an ad MUST be user-initiated. For example, ads can only utilize audio or video on user click (or mouse cursor over for at least 3 seconds). The only exception to the user-initiation would be in content areas specifically designated as 'Broadband' Content, which is on a site-by-site basis.
  • An obvious "Play" and "Stop" button must be available.
  • "Volume and Replay" buttons are also highly recommended.
  • Audio and Video within general advertising placements may last no longer than 30 seconds.
  • The use of streaming video may allow a file size up to 80K.

Audio and Video

Animation should last no longer than 15 seconds and loop a maximum of three times.

Ad Unit Dimensions Max Size
on Load
Total Size
Leaderboard 728x90 30K 50K
Skyscraper 120x600 30K 50K
Skyscraper Wide 160x600 32K 50K
Medium Rectangle 300x250 30K 50K
Toppers * 160x50 15K 25K
Banner 468x60 16K 35K
Button 120x60 10K 25K
Tile 120x90 10K 25K

Important Reminders:

  • Audio or Video requires user-interaction via CLICK or minimum 3-second mouseover.
  • RichMedia banners should stay within the size of their banner frame's size, (i.e. not pop-out of the dimensions of the banner itself.) unless user-initiated.

Tracking Flash

Flash ads need to have a clickTAG assigned for within the creative:

The Flash File (.fla extension) must first be modified.

The clickTAG is the tracking code assigned by the ad serving network to an individual ad. The clickTAG allows the network to register where the ad was displayed when it was clicked on. This click through data is reported to the ad serving servers so advertisers may determine the effectiveness of their campaign.

Client must include .SWF File with click-thru URLs, GIF/JPG provided as back-up, Flash Movies kept below 24 FPS, Target="_blank" is required in "basic actions" to ensure click-thru opens a new window, clickTAG code must be embedded in .SWF file:

    on (release)
    {
    getURL(clickTAG, "_blank");
    }

For more detailed information on implementing clicktag ActionScript, visit Macromedia's Flash Tracking Kit.

Important Note: Not all browsers are Flash capable, advertisers must include a backup gif/jpg with all Flash ads.

Use this URL for testing Flash files:

http://www.cygnusinteractive.com/artsheet/v2/flashtest/

If there are any issues with the Flash file in this format, please contact the client for accurate information.


Frequency Capping

Frequency Capping may be imposed on all ads that, without user initiation, obstruct content such as floating ads (free-form overlay/iLayer ads), user surveys, superstitials (pop-up ads) and interstitials (between page ads). Cookies are used to set frequency caps of once per user in any 24-hour period. Some types of Rich Media, such as Eyeblasters, may require additional 'padding' between delivery. This may be handled differently on different sites.

Floating ad/reminder ad combinations, whether landing in a standard in-banner ad placement or in another pre-designated location, may also have frequency capping applied. These types of ads must be coordinated so editorial and other advertising are not covered.


Need Rich Media Designed for You?

Requests for more custom-built, complex advertising programs ranging from FLASH banners, to streaming video ads or other specialized advertising is handled on a case-by-case basis. Please allow a minimum of three business days from initial request for us to provide you with an estimated timeline for Cygnus to product specialized creative.

For advertising that includes audio or video, the raw audio or video file delivered via DVD or CD is preferred. MPEG 2 or Window Media Video 9 formats at 500k or higher bit rates is preferred if we need to edit or manipulate.

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Text Advertising

Text advertising consists of two versions: One with a "headline" only and the second with a "headline" and teaser, depending on the position the client has been offered by the Cygnus Interactive sales team member. These ads appear on Web sites and some e-newsletters.

Examples:

The maximum length of the headline portion of a text ad is 45 characters. A teaser, on most sites, must not exceed 75 characters. The combination of both lines MAY NOT EXCEED 100 characters. Capital letters are counted as TWO Characters.

Note: Individual sites may offer different options for text advertising, so it is important to check with your sales representative. In most cases, Cygnus provides an overview impression count via page views in which the ad appears for a specific time period. Cygnus can track clicks from your text ad to your Web site via our advertising delivery platform. Again, this may vary on a site-by-site basis.

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Ad Technologies & Cookies

Acceptable Advertising Technologies

Cygnus Interactive currently accepts the following Advertising Technologies or Delivery Methods. Each requires a five business day turnaround for testing and approval:

    BlueStreak, Eyeblaster, Eyewonder, Flash, Doubleclick, HTML, Java/JavaScript, PointRoll, Viewpoint

Cygnus Interactive does not accept:

    Comet Curser, Enliven, Superstital or Unicast.

For any additional advertising types not listed, please contact your sales representative. Flash advertising is not available in e-mail newsletters or blasts at this time.


Cookies from Third-Party Ad Servers

All advertising served by a third party agency (such as Doubleclick) using "cookie technology" must submit a link to that agency's "privacy statement" page.

Any ad banners that send a cookie to our subscribers and do not comply will be removed from the site immediately. We request that you limit the number of cookies to one per user


Deadlines for Third Party-Delivered Ads

All versions of creative that will be served via a third party, must be provided for testing and approval prior to appearing on the site. Please allow up to five business days for this testing in advance of your campaign start.

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E-Mail Products

Cygnus Business Media must have all HTML and Text version creative for a E-Mail Blast at least seven business days prior to it running. This will allow for four days for upload and testing, two days for client approval and one day to upload the final approved version and schedule for delivery.

Cygnus Business Media prefers to have all creative as soon as possible following the signing of an insertion order.


Requirements for E-Mail Products

  • Only text, JPG and GIF images are allowed.
  • Flash, Rich Media, Image Maps and Javsacript are not available in e-mail products.
  • Subject lines should be as enticing as possible, more than ONE word, and NOT in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS.
  • Links to PDF, Word Documents or other non-traditional "web page" links within an e-mail MUST be clearly identified.
  • There MUST be a call to action above the first 400 pixels (height) of the e-mail.
  • Text versions should be no more than 10K and may not include any image files.
  • A subject line that meets our approval must be also provided.
  • A blast that is entirely a linked image it NOT recommended, as today's e-mail platform block images. An HTML e-mail should be a combination of text and images with a call-to-action within the text component
  • Blast materials should also include a subject line no more than 12 words or 150 characters. We can also run the subject line through a "Spam-Checker Tool" that points out any verbiage that will be picked up by spam filters.
  • All email HTML must be table-based layouts; using CSS only to control typography and color.
  • There is a 600 pixels maximum width and up to 100K maximum file size (includes all images and html files).
  • Full image paths in the code must be used (ex: http://www.domain.com/images/graphic1.jpg).
  • We will provide 2 versions for testing: 1 text, 1 HTML.
  • Clients should provide detailing linking instructionsa

Need It Designed?

Cygnus Business Media's team can design an effective and complete E-mail Blast for your company. For more information, see the 'Cygnus Creative Services' overview below.

Before we can create your E-mail Blast, you will need to work with your marketing team and ours to determine the best strategy and a clear, concise design plan for your banner(s). This should include providing:

  • URL(s) of or direct graphic image(s) to be included in your E-mail Blast including company logo, products and other related images.
  • A clear concept to include marketing slogans and the mission of your campaign to more rapidly assist us in preparing your E-mail Blast.
  • Client should provide an FTP location for us to upload the files or send them DVD or CD-Rom. E-Mailed files should not be zipped.
  • Images should be a minimum of 72DPI, but higher resolution or original .EPS or Photoshop/Illustrator files are preferred.
  • While reviewing our creative, you must give clear direction as to what graphics and text should be linked, and what URLs each should be directed to.

Deadlines

The first phase of the design of a E-mail Blast will take place between the client and sales representative to create a basic design concept.

Please allow up to two weeks before your campaign runs for any Cygnus Business Media-created E-mail Blast.

Cygnus Business Media's design team must have at least five business days to work on the concept and develop the design and HTML and Text versions. The team will then offer the advertiser up to two business days to review it. Following that, we allow up to two days of altering and adjusting the documents as needed before final testing and entering into our system the last day before the campaign is scheduled to start.

Ideally, we prefer to have all creative ideas and related graphic and text AS FAR IN ADVANCE as possible.

Due to the strict timeline of the E-Mail Blast schedule, if you do not supply your creative within these deadlines we cannot guarantee its place in our delivery schedule. Clients may be charged a late fee of up to $500 or your campaign may be delayed or cancelled, depending on the circumstances and amount of time the materials are provided late.

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Product Showcase Blasts & Products

Cygnus Business Media must have all materials: company logo, featured product image and links, and descriptive text (up to 40 words) for a Product Showcase Blast listing. These materials are to be submitted at least seven business days prior to it running.

Due to the strict timeline of the Product Showcase Blasts schedule, if you do not supply your creative within these deadlines we cannot guarantee its place in our delivery schedule. You may be charged a late fee of up to $500 or your campaign may be delayed or cancelled, depending on the circumstances and amount of time the materials are provided late.

Cygnus Business Media prefers to have all creative as soon as possible following the signing of an insertion order.


File Requirements

  • Product Images for Product Showcase blasts, as well as Product placements on sites with Featured Products, are 100x100 pixels, with a maximum file size of 7K.
  • Rich Media and Animated Images are not accepted in most cases.
  • Company logos can be up to 100 pixels wide, and 40 pixels high, with a maximum file size of 6K.

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Cygnus Creative Services

Cygnus Business Media's design team can easily assist your company/organization with designing banners, developing online marketing strategies and more.

While Cygnus provides core advertising design as a add-on service to our clients, in some cases we may direct clients to third-parties for development of specialized online advertising.

Special requirements based on advertising type are outlined under each specific section above.


Basic Fee Outline

Banner Design Any Size (gif/jpg) $130 each
Forms & Landing Pages $525 each
Scanning Images or Altering $32 each
Survey Creation $250
Up to 25 questions, 5 options each
Rich Media Design Case by Case Basis (Minimum $250)

Change Policy

Changes, additional time spent working with client to develop banner design or landing page layout AFTER THREE (3) REVISIONS, will be billed at $75/hour.

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The Client and These Guidelines

These guidelines have been created to ensure Cygnus Interactive is able to provide our clients with the best service and audience delivery in the B2B industry.

Advertising with a Cygnus Interactive property is a two-way relationship that requires us to work together to produce and deliver high quality advertising opportunities for our clients while ensuring our end-users (site visitors) are positively impacted by those messages.

Cygnus Interactive is not responsible for campaigns delayed, cancelled or otherwise impacted if any of the guidelines within this document are not followed.

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