Yahoo Exchange Adds Publisher RTB Tools

by , Jul 28, 2011, 8:00 AM
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In a move aimed at attracting more publishers, Yahoo's Right Media Exchange is rolling out new tools for selling inventory in the marketplace on a real-time basis. The changes are designed to give publishers more control over how they sell ad space across the exchange, especially when offered through real-time bidding.

The technology allows inventory to be bought and sold according to the attributes of each impression in real-time.

While RTB promises greater efficiencies in the online ad market, it has also raised concerns among publishers over issues like sales channel conflict, data leakage and uncertainty about pricing and the quality of advertisers. Safeguarding their premium display ad sales from newer platforms, such as exchange-based selling that might pose a threat, is paramount for publishers.

To help address those issues, Right Media has added new features that allow sellers to determine the specific types of inventory they offer through RTB and to set reserve, or minimum, prices for different kinds of inventory to help publishers protect the premium sales channel. They would also be able to set floor prices according to each buyer, via RTB or otherwise.

In the Right Media Exchange, publishers will also be able to set the type of information they share with buyers by URL, publisher ID, site and channel. Beyond that, they can manage the volume of RTB transactions by analyzing bid-versus-buy data from their buyers. That can help them decide how much inventory to make available to each RTB buyer.

In short, the upgraded system will allow publishers to determine what inventory they want to sell to each buyer at what price, and at what level of visibility. In a blog post Thursday announcing the steps, Ramsey McGrory, who heads Right Media, said the new capabilities could also be used to create private marketplaces as well as regular hosted transactions in the exchange.

"The general idea here is that Right Media wants to make publishers more comfortable. They can put their inventory into the exchange and it's not the Wild West," said Joanna O'Connell, a senior analyst at Forrester. If the new controls help bring in more quality publishers, that will only benefit the Yahoo-owned exchange by creating more liquidity that will drive more buying and higher pricing.

"The more good inventory is in the exchange, the healthier the marketplace is going to be," said O'Connell, who helped create the Atom Systems agency trading desk while at Razorfish. The key draw to date for advertisers in the Right Media Exchange has been to gain access to Yahoo inventory. Other top publishers using the exchange include Beanstock Media.

"Yahoo wants to give more power to publishers in an RTB auction -- if for no other reason than to better monetize their own Yahoo owned-and-operated inventory through Right Media Exchange," noted John Ebbert, managing editor of AdExchanger.com.

The new tools for sellers come more than a year after Right Media opened up real-time bidding on the buy side to demand-side platform firms, including Data Xu, Mediamath, Turn and X+1. If that move was intended to bolster relations with the DSP's agency clientele, the latest step could be seen as an effort to strengthen ties on the sell side.

The enhanced services for publishers also follow a month after Google's $400 million acquisition of ad optimization company Admeld, which caters to publishers. Google also operates the DoubleClick Ad Exchange that vies directly with Right Media.

"A couple of very big players -- Google and Yahoo -- are both fighting to be the most attractive to publishers so they'll bring inventory to their exchanges," said O'Connell.

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