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5to1-comEveryone’s seen ads on blogs and other websites that seem like a terrible fit with the site. Heck, there’s a chance that you’ve probably seen ads like that once or twice on VentureBeat. A startup called 5to1 demonstrated a new technology at the TechCrunch50 conference in San Francisco that fights back against those terrible ads, by giving web publishers choice in which ads run on their site.

5to1 compares its technology to both iTunes and a dating site. It’s focused on remnant ad networks, which place ads in spots that publishers haven’t sold themselves. You can scroll through a list of possible ads for your site, see how those ads performed on other sites, and choose the one you want.

While running in stealth mode, 5to1 says it has signed up hundreds of thousands of advertisers. Some of the judges were skeptical about whether publishers would want to do this manually — Tony Hsieh of Zappos wondered if that just creates an extra half hour of work per day. 5to1 says that for early users, the company was willing to assemble the ads for the publishers, rather than forcing them to choose, but most of the publishers wanted to get involved directly.

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