Sovrn Steps Into 'Header Bidding,' Releases Pre-Auction API

Programmatic supply-side platform (SSP) sovrn on Tuesday announced that it has stepped into the “header bidding” arena, which allows publishers to pool all RTB demand together to essentially create a mega-auction of sorts.

Curse, a gamer-focused publisher, is one of the first named publishers to be using sovrn’s new header bidding technology.

“Daisy chaining is a common revenue optimization technique that does not always benefit the publisher,” stated Walter Knapp, CEO of sovrn. “While useful, it has resulted in lost revenue for publishers.”

The move represents yet another blow to the daisy chain -- or ”waterfall" -- that formed as programmatic buying grew in popularity. It’s a relatively simple concept: Different demand was being placed in different buckets, and some buckets were given priority over others. Technology such as sovrn’s aims to pour the content of all individual buckets into one large bucket.

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“Daisy chaining is inefficient because it does not give a publisher full transparency into the fair market value of the publisher’s inventory,” wrote sovrn in a press release. “This lack of transparency means publishers often lose revenue by unknowingly offering and then selling a specific ad impression to one advertiser, when another partner lower in the chain would have paid more.”

Sovrn is not the first company to dedicate resources to header bidding. The most notable other example is AppNexus, which is reportedly improving its own heading bidding product, per AdExchanger.

Other companies -- such as Technorati and Operative -- have released similar technologies as well, although their technologies clump both direct and programmatic demand.

While all of these advancements have taken place in the past half-year -- indicating that material change may be on the horizon -- breaking apart the daisy chain has been a conversation for nearly a year-and-a-half, or more. For example, in 2014 SSP OpenX released its own technology, dubbed “Demand Fusion,” which “fuses” all demand sources together (both direct and programmatic).

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