Technorati Takes Aim At The Programmatic 'Waterfall'

Technorati, the publisher ad network, is unwrapping demand in a whole new way. The company on Monday rolled out a new technology called SmartWrapper that it asserts “blow[s] up the daisy chain” of programmatic sequential selling.

SmartWrapper will be plugged into a brand new platform from Technorati called Contago, which Technorati hopes will bring “parity to programatic bidding.”

The gist of the story is that Technorati’s new tech aims to link publishers with whatever advertiser flashes the most money, regardless of which avenue that advertiser came from -- be it RTB ad exchanges or direct-with-publisher negotiations.

Shani Higgins, Technorati’s CEO, stated that the waterfall approach “limits a publisher’s exposure to all demand at the same time.” Ad tech firms have been trying to stopper the demand “waterfall” for some time, and Technorati’s announcement reignites the conversation.

This is a logical evolution for the programmatic marketplace. The “waterfall” has already swished around the look and feel of the exchange-based marketplace -- GroupM’s Ari Bluman said he wanted to rise above the waterfall when he famously noted GroupM was pulling out of open exchanges -- and our own Joe Mandese pointedly noted that sometimes, the best available consumer attention is “somewhere down the waterfall.”

That's the idea behind de-waterfallization (you hear that here first): See all demand in one place, at one time. Rather than avoid the problem by "rising above," tech like Technorati's intends to reshape the infrastructure.

The waterfall was originally constructed when “programmatic” was real-time bidding (RTB), which was little more than cobbled-together remnant inventory; the "Race to The Bottom" quip had some truth to it. Since then, however, programmatic has moved up from the dredges, and it hasn’t been synonymous with “RTB” in quite some time.

The original intention of the waterfall no longer applies, but this industry -- nascent though it may be -- was rooted in the waterfall idea. That’s now changing.

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