Commentary

The S&DP

AddanteThere’s some revealing language in a status update released by Rubicon Project today that signals its shift from a sell-side to a demand-side -- or at the very least -- a neutral platform. And it comes from none other than CEO and Founder Frank Addante, who while explaining the spectacular growth of its REVV real-time ad trading platform, gave top billing to the buy-side. “Our momentum stems from the fact that Rubicon Project is solving the biggest problem in digital advertising today -- making it easier for advertisers and publishers around the globe to buy and sell digital advertising,” he stated. Yeah, I know I may be reading between the lines on this one, but I find it telling, because a couple of years ago, it was all about publishers and selling digital advertising. 
 
Don’t get me wrong. As far as I know, Rubicon Project never called themselves a sell-side platform. It was other third parties like Lumascapes that put them in that bucket. Addante told me as much when we huddled up during Rubicon’s New York Summit in February, where Addante and his team unveiled their latest version of REVV, including mobile, and importantly, a whole bunch of buy-side features.
 
“We never called ourselves an SSP,” Addante told me, adding, “We just wanted to solve a problem and make it easier for both sides to do business together.” Apparently, Rubicon is enabling more of that, because it currently is working with 140,000 advertisers (and their agencies), which are using REVV to trade with more than 500 premium publishers. To put that number in perspective, it represents 40% of comScore’s top 500 publishers. To put it in even more perspective, the 2 million transactions-per-second REVV currently processes, is equivalent to six times the volume of stock trades on NASDAQ.
 
Want some more numbers? The 6 billion ad trades processed by REVV daily adds up to 180 billion ad trades per month and three trillion bid requests per month.
 
A major reason Rubicon is scaling so fast is that it legitimately is neutral, offering upside to both buyers and sellers. A good example of that is a new real-time pricing mechanism it has enabled via a new product dubbed, “Connect,” which automates higher-priced direct orders between premium publishers and large agencies, rather than focusing on auctions of unsold lower-priced inventory.
 
“More than 50 publishers have installed Connect so far, including the Wall Street Journal, eBay UK and Hearst,” Rubicon boasts in today’s status report, adding, “And virtually every major agency trading desk has access to browse and purchase inventory and audience packages offered by premium publishers via Connect, as well. In addition, the resulting deals transacted are beyond $20 CPM, in some cases, versus CPMs as low as $0.10 for certain auctioned inventory.”
 
In other words, Rubicon is succeeding at taking the friction out of the digital trading marketplace by automating processes the help buyers and sellers strike new market equilibria. So if you ask me, it’s actually an S&DP: a supply-and-demand platform.

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1 comment about "The S&DP".
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  1. Ben Trenda from isocket, May 1, 2013 at 10:56 a.m.

    1. S&DP... Let's hope no one actually tries to use this acronym.

    2. Btw, Rubicon never called themselves an SSP.

    3. You have to create value for all parties if you want a marketplace to be successful. "The Demand Side" has always been a piece of the Rubicon strategy, even if the press (and some other companies) were more interested in manufacturing a juicy buyer vs. seller narrative.

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