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Frank Addante

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  • Ad Networks Are For Idiots -- And Here's The Math To Prove It by David Koretz (Publishing Insider on 04/09/2009)

    The fact that publishers let some ad networks take advantage of them is not the ad networks' fault, it is the publishers'. Publishers don't understand how to manage channels -- and they let their channel resellers (ad networks) sell without boundaries. The publishers haven't been trained on how to properly manage channels like traditional businesses (software, hardware, tech, etc.) Some networks even work -against- the interests of the publishers when they arbitrage. They buy low, sell high. They try to buy as low as possible. This trend started because publishers started forcing ad networks to guarantee inventory. Ad networks eventually got smart and said if they are going to take on all the risk, than they shouldn't share the upside with the publisher. Hence, arbitrage was born. Further, not all inventory is created equal. Publishers sell what they can, the rest they don't calculate in their rCPM. Some of that inventory many be international as an example - they may getting $0 for it. Ad networks selling it for more is not "lower" than direct. The value of that international is lower to begin with, but they are able to monetize (as a channel) where publishers cannot. We could say the same for the home page vs. inner pages, buttons vs. leaderboards, above/below the fold, etc. Ad networks are judged by total inventory sent divided by total revenue generated for it. If publishers calculated overall CPM the same way (including unsold) than their rCPM would be MUCH lower. It is not apples to apples. Lastly, publishers also usually send the wrong inventory to the wrong networks - resulting in an enormous amount of media waste. My company, the Rubicon Project, exists because this has become very complex (and fragmented) and most people do not understand how to put proper channel management programs in place to fully maximize the benefits (and therefore, revenue) from leveraging channels (ad networks). Let's fix the publisher problem, let's realign ad networks as true resellers (partners that are fully aligned with the publishers) and the whole ecosystem will thrive.

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