Commentary

That Awkward Moment When FBX Scrambled Two RTB Companies In One Ad

Two ad technology companies that specialize in real-time bidding (RTB) -- OpenX and The Trade Desk -- were this week involved in a minor gaffe on the Facebook Exchange (FBX).

In the right rail sponsored ad section on Facebook, an ad for “real-time advertising” was displayed. The headline featured thetradedesk.com, while the image and accompanying text featured OpenX. Huh?

Geoff Golberg, an observant Facebook user with a background in online media (he was most recently account director for Advertising.com product sales, per his LinkedIn page), was the first to notice the ad. See his tweet, and the bad ad, below:

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The Trade Desk was quick to respond to Golberg on Twitter to begin solving the mystery. The ad landed on an OpenX page, so the display URL was the only thing messed up. Any one of the three companies (Facebook included) could be to blame for the small error (see editor's note), but in truth it’s nothing more than that: small.

Still, the humorous mistake raises a few unanswered questions for the RTB space. For one, who would have caught this error had Golberg not been paying attention to the ads? More importantly, through which channel will companies learn of mistakes in the future?

Ideally, they would catch mistakes themselves. This mess up was mostly inconsequential, but what if it had been something bad, like a URL to a pornographic site? Companies would not want that type of error exposed on social media.

Golberg ending up promoting his tweet. Another Twitter user, Tyler Fitch (@tylerwfitch), summed the whole thing up perfectly:

“So this is a @geoffgolberg promoted tweet about an @openx promoted Facebook ad about [@thetradedeskinc] .. makes sense..”

*Editor's note: The Trade Desk reached out to RTM Daily and made clear they were not involved in serving the ad or the campaign. Simply put, it was nothing more than bad luck for The Trade Desk that it was their URL that was picked up.

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