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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

ContextWeb's ADSDAQ Goes Live

DoubleClick may be working on a "NASDAQ-like exchange" for online display ads, but today ContextWeb has opened their ADSDAQ platform live, discussed here recently.

We're still trying to digest the relative impact of the DoubleClick (Google) and Right Media (Yahoo acquisitions), and to piece together their current and future impacts. There is already some speculation out there that Right Media specializes mainly in junk social media ad inventory -- if so, that's something for Yahoo to fix post-acquisition, or perhaps it's the part of the inventory pie that was available, so not to be sneezed at, especially not by the producers of large-scale junk social media ad inventory. (I do worry when you're using phrases like "non-premium inventory". In the past decade or so, non-premium online ad inventory has run the gamut from banners in less-visible positions, to forced page views. In other words, from near-worthless to fraudulent.)

ContextWeb seeks to broker both high-end and remnant inventory more efficiently by allowing publishers to communicate their ask price. ContextWeb is actively fighting the industry tendency to relegate publishers to "remnant" status by default.

The role of an independent growth player in the marketplace is a real wildcard. We know that product quality hasn't been the main reason Google won the PPC wars (reach was), but it was a real catalyst for pulling away from the laggards. ContextWeb's success will depend on the coolness of its platform (I'm confident of that) and the size of the marketplace it's able to build through business development and self-serve publisher signups.

Owning the premier properties seems to be the most favorable place to be here, given the emergence of rough-and-tumble competition among robust middlemen. Yahoo would really love to acquire Facebook, wouldn't they. So Right Media sounds like a consolation prize.

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