AppNexus Streamlines Auditing Department

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Michael Rubenstein, PresidentAppNexus has laid off half its 44 part-time auditors as the company looks to streamline its operations in that area.

The auditing department is responsible for hundreds of thousands of creative executions and pieces of inventory that run through AppNexus' system. The team was constructed of a mix of full- and part-time auditors and contractors around the world. The 44 part-timers were primarily located at its New York headquarters.

The cuts address an imbalance in workloads at AppNexus, which employs 550 staffers in total, said Michael Rubenstein, president of AppNexus.

Many of those part-timers barely worked any hours, while others carried a heavy load that was still below the amount to be eligible for employee benefits. As part of a 2014 review plan, it was decided that, rather than have these disparities in work hours, it would be better to take the 22 part-timers and grant them access to full company benefits and additional work hours. That resulted in 20 or so part-timers being let go, with the remainder being giving additional hours and benefits.

Rubenstein emphasized that AppNexus already has a significant amount invested in auditing and would invest more this year.

"In terms of the overall number of hours of auditing, that doesn't change," Rubenstein said. "We're not pulling back at all. It's just that the work is being concentrated in a smaller number of people. I realize that may not have been a popular decision with the 22 workers, but the remaining workers are very happy with the change."

State Of AppNexus' Direct-To-Marketer Business

Rubenstein emphasized the change does not mean the company has moved away from servicing advertisers directly. AppNexus' chief clients have always started with the agencies and their trading desks, he said. "If anything, we've been deepening our investment and growing our relationships with buyers all over the world. We have an aggressive product road map in that area."

He pointed to established buy-side relationships with Microsoft and eBay, though the latter company began handing its European programmatic business to MediaMath last summer. MediaMath had no comment when asked if eBay has shifted more business to them.

AppNexus recently released an entirely new workflow for buyers, Rubenstein noted. It's also preparing to release the AppNexus Console for Traders (aka Console the Next Generation), which is designed to appeal to strategic buyer clients, such as agencies, which Rubenstein said was always the focus for AppNexus.

"Most of our business is with agencies and trading desks," he said. "We've only worked with direct brands in certain circumstances. That's always been well known, but we still power some of the biggest brand marketers in the world. That's not going to change. We've always been more of an intermediary because we're a technology company. AppNexus is the only company in this space that has no media business. We're solely focused on building technology."

Rubenstein continued, "As a pure-play technology company, what we've found is that our audience has not frequently been direct brands. But there are a lot of forward-thinking, technologically savvy marketers out there and we are happy to work with them."

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