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EBay Ad Exchange Finds Network

After months of fruitless searching, eBay's Online Media Exchange system, a Web-based, stock market-like exchange for buying ad time on television, finally found a TV network willing to participate in a test. OME's partners, which include eBay and the four A's, were on the verge of shutting the project down. Many TV networks objected that the exchange threatens the high price advertisers currently pay for TV ad time.

But in the end, the Oxygen network, which skews heavily to women, cited an opportunity "to be exposed to more advertisers." And there's been little problem getting national brand advertisers onboard. Home Depot, HP and Microsoft are among the 10 that will participate. At the end, eBay and co. will determine whether OME is a viable way to buy and sell ad time. Even with the participation of Oxygen, the project faces long odds.

Why? Because the entire history of advertising on television (and other mediums) is predicated on waste, so why would a major TV network get excited about a supply-and-demand-based system? Meanwhile, big ad firms worry that the existing TV buying system, which is all about building personal relationships and amassing discounts, would become commoditized. Their clients, however, would be happy to know what the market price is for the ads they buy. No surprise here: nobody wants to move forward here.

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Read the whole story at The Wall Street Journal »

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