Rubicon Goes Agnostic: Unveils Buy-Side Technology, Mobile Too
by Joe Mandese, Feb 21, 2013, 9:11 AM
As part of its push to automate the way advertising is bought and sold, The Rubicon Project Wednesday signaled a shift from a mainly “sell-side” focus to the “buy-side,” unveiling its first major suite of technologies aimed at advertisers, agencies, media buyers and trading desks. The announcement, which was made as part of a half-day-long summit of advertisers, agencies and digital publishers in New York City, was a significant step toward positioning the six-year-old Los Angeles-based startup as a truly “agnostic” platform for buyers and sellers to automate the way they trade media.
“In order for a marketplace to work, you have to service both sides,” Rubicon founder and CEO Frank Addante said following the announcements. While industry analysts have so far classified Rubicon as a so-called SSP, or “sell-side platform” developing technology for the benefit of online publishers -- as opposed to DSPs, or “demand-side platforms” that develop them for advertisers and agencies -- Addante said Rubicon has never seen itself that way, and was created simply to help both sides automate their processes and take much of the manual “friction” out of the media-buying process. That said, the business cards handed out by Rubicon executives during the summit still carried the tagline: “real-time trading for publishers.”
The new buy-side product suite unveiled by Rubicon was part of a new, more powerful version of Rubicon’s Revv server technology aptly named Revv Buyer, which will enable advertisers, agencies and trading desks to transact programmatic buys either through open real-time bidding exchanges or through private marketplaces directly with publishers.
Not surprisingly, Rubicon also announced a new publisher-focused product suite dubbed Revv Seller, which offers the same kind of automation focusing on a seller’s needs. Both products are designed to automate many of the “mundane” human tasks associated with buying and selling media.
While Rubicon faces an uphill battle to establish itself as a truly agnostic interchange between buyers and sellers in the display ad marketplace, which is hyper fragmented by an array of other intermediaries all vying for dominance, but ultimately skewed toward one side or the other, it also announced another initiative into a segment of the advertising industry that is crying out for something to be its organizing principle -- mobile. The new project, dubbed The Mobile Project, seeks to do for mobile what Rubicon did for display, pouring buckets of venture capital funding and cash flow into the development of better technology to automate the buying and selling of mobile advertising opportunities.
The announcement was followed by an interview with Lori Tavoularis, managing director-revenue partnerships at Tribune Digital, which has been beta testing the platform, and recently put all of its mobile inventory on Rubicon’s mobile RTB platform.
“We really wanted an easier way for people to buy our inventory at scale,” she said adding that the result has been a doubling of Tribune’s mobile CPM yields since making the move.