Tuesday, May 01, 2007
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.
Labels: contextweb, online advertising
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
A few weeks before the recent announcement that Google is buying DoubleClick, DoubleClick announced it'll be developing a "NASDAQ-like exchange" for the buying and selling of online advertising. Proof positive that the online ad space continues to heat up, rather than diving into an irrational "bust" as in 2000-2003.
Wait a minute, though, you may be saying. Aren't ad networks and the way ads are bought and sold today somewhat "market-like"?
Not as much as you might think. Check out Google's current contextual offerings, for example. As a publisher, do you think you can signal to the advertiser using an "ask" price? Do you have much control at all if you join one of the various ad networks and let their system allocate inventory, as opposed to using your own inside sales force? Nope. And what about the ability to stand out as a quality publisher amidst the crowd of remnant type inventory? Again, tough to do. So, tough to monetize to your fullest potential. Because the current market maker is not facilitating a true market. In that sense, DoubleClick's new promised offering, and Google's acquisition of DoubleClick, could constitute a significant step forward in online advertising efficiency.
DoubleClick won't be the only one working on a great way of putting online ad buyers and sellers together. ContextWeb, quietly licensing its matching technology since 2000, and more recently, acting as a media middleman in its own right, is working on a new "name your price" functionality in a new, highly automated ad marketplace system. I had the chance to walk through a demo yesterday with CEO Anand Subramanian and VP of Business Development Jay Sears. While the release isn't slated for a couple of months, publishers are already being targeted for a beta signup. The hook, "Ready to Make More Money than AdSense?," is not new to publishers, admits Subramanian. "Typically a publisher will become dissatisfied with their AdSense earnings, will install code from a competing network, but that will be even worse, so it's right back to AdSense," he says. But that's because these competing networks don't present a credible alternative. They represent the old school of what ContextWeb calls "Yet Another Ad Network," with fewer features, not a true marketplace, and no critical mass of buyers and sellers.
The company won't yet disclose the full range of features of its new system. To me, it seems to address the combined needs of advertisers and publishers very well, leaving neither the "prime inventory" nor the "long tail" unaddressed. ContextWeb's quiet long-term presence in the space seems to have given the company a wealth of ideas. A decent revenue stream from its current agency relationships, plus venture funding from, among others, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, has given them the long view needed to build a better platform.
If you're a publisher of quality content, here's hoping the days of "Yet Another Ad Network" will soon be a thing of a past in your balance sheet.
Labels: anand subramanian, content targeting, contextual ads, contextweb, doubleclick, google, jay sears
View Posts by Category