"This will empower advertisers to work with approved third parties to serve and track display ads, including rich-media ads, across the Google content network through AdWords," said Rajas Moonka, a senior business product manager at Google, in a blog post.
For their part, participating rich media agencies are happy to have access to Google's massive content network.
"We were in talks with Google for a year on this," said Jason McKay, president of Unicast. "From an advertiser perspective, I think Google's done a fine job at monetizing their network, but cooperation can only help the situation."
As of Monday, the other certified agencies include Eyeblaster, EyeWonder, Interpolls, PointRoll, and Google's own DoubleClick Rich Media. The certified ad-servers are DoubleClick and Mediaplex, while Google said it plans to add more agencies to the network as they become certified. In March, Google announced that it had closed its $3.1 billion acquisition of DoubleClick.
The move could be perceived as a lack of confidence on Google's part to effectively sell all of its ad inventory, according to Forrester Research analyst Charlene Li. "It does raise the question," she said.
More likely, said Li, Google is deftly opening its doors to specialists who can generate more revenue for everyone to share. "If others can better monetize your inventory, and create more revenue, you let them," insisted Li.
The network was previously closed, according to Moonka, while Google built the proper tools to review ad compliance with its own standards.
"Advertisers and agencies will now be able to manage their Google content network campaigns with the same systems they use for other online campaigns," Moonka said. "For publishers on the network, this program offers a way to expand their advertiser base and enable advertisers to better understand the value of their inventory."