openads2.jpgThe online advertising world continues to get shaken up.

OpenAds, a company based in London, is the latest to drive change, undercutting the old guard with a low-cost offering. It offers Web site owners something called an “ad server,” a device lets them take control of their online advertising management. It provides the technology needed by Web sites to control advertising creative, insert into the right place on a Web site at the right time, and then monitor how the advertising performs.

Today, OpenAds announced it is offering a free hosted version, letting Web companies avoid the need for their own server. It also announced it has raised $15.5 million more in financing to expand.

Ad servers are becoming increasingly sophisticated. For example, they can note if you arrive at a site for the second time in an hour and be programmed to show you a different ad than the one you saw the first time — to improve efficiency (here’s a demo of how it works).

There’s also a huge and growing market for ad management, as more and more people go to the web to research and read.

OpenAds’ server is open source, and therefore so cheap that it is undercutting the incumbents, such as Microsoft’s aQuantive, and giant Doubleclick, the company Google is acquiring. While the basic version is free, OpenAds gets paid by offering support.

The second round of financing is led by Accel Partners, with previous investors Index Ventures, First Round Capital, Mangrove Capital Partners, and O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures participating. It follows a first $5 million round last year.

OpenAds says it is used by more than 30,000 publishers worldwide.

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