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The Publisher’s Guide To Domain Spoofing

andrewcasaleupdatedThe Sell Sider” is a column written for the sell side of the digital media community.

Today’s column is written by Andrew Casale, vice president of strategy at Index Exchange, by Casale Media.

Commonly and with little difficulty, bad actors are defrauding the digital marketplace. They’re playing tricks to make exchanges think they’re selling inventory from reputable, premium publishers – often at bargain basement rates – when in fact the domain name offering the inventory provides only junk, creating problems for everyone in the business.

We’re not talking about bot fraud here. It’s called domain spoofing. The underlying impressions and users are real. The issue involves taking an undervalued asset – a leaderboard on a torrent site, for example – and masquerading it as a premium asset, such as that same leaderboard appearing on a first-tier news site.

When this topic comes up, discussion normally focuses on how domain spoofing harms the buy side. It inundates programmatic buys with junk inventory, throws off KPIs, violates the implied security of whitelists and effectively steals budgets from marketers. But in reality, the process damages digital publishers similarly.


Publishers Need To Stop Looking For Unicorns

evasmithsellsiderThe Sell Sider” is a column written by the sell side of the digital media community.

Today’s column is written by Eva Smith, vice president of sales strategy at The Weather Company.

A mild panic has come over our industry. Leaders are increasingly concerned that the complexity of sales is increasing at a faster clip than the ability to hire the talent capable of managing it.

That selling, especially in parallel with the exploding programmatic marketplace, is becoming more consultative and complex is not a new story.

Yet how the industry thinks about and staffs the sales function hasn’t fundamentally changed. Everyone keeps looking in vain for super-charged individuals: They have great relationships and superior oral and written communications skills, are amazing under pressure, critical thinkers, technically savvy and creative problem solvers. In short, everyone keeps looking for unicorns. And they’re not just looking for one, but armies of people who can do it all when the reality is that very few can. Let’s face it: Those who can do it all are already highly successful leaders. You can’t afford them.


Premium Vertical Balancing Act: Blending Direct Deals With Automation

darentrousdellsellsiderThe Sell-Sider” is a column written for the sell side of the digital media community.

Today’s column is written by Daren Trousdell, CEO at OneUp Sports.

Some of the most innovative publishers can be found in premium digital media verticals, especially within the sports and entertainment categories. These verticals have historically given brands a platform to do amazing things that engage their desired audiences via content and context.

With the shift to programmatic technologies, the art of placing and pricing digital media in premium verticals could quickly take a backseat to the science and efficiency. But, it shouldn’t – at least, not completely.

With a staggering $53 billion expected to flow into the channel by 2018, it looks like programmatic is here to stay. Even so, I’m still convinced that the best media deals happen when the buyer and seller meet face-to-face and work on a deal. I believe there are ways to ensure that both strategies coexist and drive even more opportunity for publishers and advertisers.


The Human Context Can Unlock The True Value Of Mobile

heathermenerysellsiderThe Sell Sider” is a column written for the sell side of the digital media community.

Today’s column is written by Heather Menery, vice president of emerging solutions at PubMatic

There are many debates today surrounding mobile and display: Are they now one and the same? Should we still have dedicated, separate budgets or simply merge mobile and display together?

Although it’s clear that we must manage all these channels in an integrated and efficient way, mobile still has unique qualities that set it apart from others. Users, for example, behave very differently on their mobile devices than they do on laptops. We can also take advantage of mobile’s unique attributes, especially in the programmatic space.

The key is in understanding that the value of mobile is ultimately captured in the human context: a person’s location, activities and intent.

Our mobile devices accompany us everywhere, from our first morning coffee run to the workplace, business lunches and happy hours, before ending up on our nightstands as we go to sleep. While traditional display ads are presented in the context of the activity on the device, such as the web page being read or game being played, mobile ads become more effective when they reflect the context of the person’s activity. The ability to use location to make inferences about what people are doing and what they might want based on that activity is far more valuable than the on-device context in which the ad itself is shown.


The Secrets Publishers Don’t Tell You About Redesigns

neilvogelThe Sell Sider” is a column written by the sell side of the digital media community. 

Today’s column is written by Neil Vogel, CEO at

2014 is proving to be the year of the digital redesign. From Fortune to Cosmo, The New Yorker and Quartz, premium publishers are making bets on the best way to make a beautiful product that improves user experience and increases monetization.

Among the millions of questions publishers ask themselves – How should we feature content? How big should we make the images? Font size? Native? Responsive? Infinite scroll? – the only question they should be asking is, “What’s the real opportunity here?”

This is the opportunity: A redesign is the single biggest chance to redefine a brand to all stakeholders, including users, advertisers, employees and investors. It’s a direct reflection of a publisher’s beliefs and value proposition. It’s also a direct reflection of the company’s culture. If a culture is fearful of change or anchored in old ideas, the product will be a direct reflection of that decision. Deciding to not change is an active choice.


Creative: The Missing Link

kerelcoopersellsiderThe Sell-Sider” is a column written by the sell side of the digital media community.

Today’s column is written by Kerel Cooper, vice president of platform development at LiveIntent. He previously spent 15 years working for digital publishers running ad operations and platform-strategy teams. 

We're living through a period of unprecedented focus on optimization, reporting and campaign performance. And that's a good thing.

But this rise in the influence of media and measurement has neglected an essential component of advertising effectiveness: creative.

Over the last nine months, I’ve attended a number of conferences and meet-ups. I’ve asked people publicly and privately, and I cannot seem to find a good, consistent solution for the creative challenge. Creative always seems to be the last thing talked about – if it’s mentioned at all – when it should be one of the first.


Rise Of The Hybrid Advertiser

brianmikaliseditedThe Sell Sider” is a column written by the sell side of the digital media community.

Today’s column is written by Brian Mikalis, senior vice president of monetization at Pandora.

Looking back about 10 years, marketers either focused on driving brand metrics or worked to achieve immediate direct-response results. The sell side often tried to differentiate these advertisers based on the cost model the advertiser was willing to pay, such as CPM campaigns for brands and cost-per-click and cost-per-action campaigns for direct response.

Publishers and networks primarily focused on building solutions for brand advertisers in an effort to earn higher rates and consistent business from advertisers with the largest budgets. The leftover inventory went to direct-response advertisers looking for scale and cheaper rates to make the campaigns work for their strict return on investment goals.

A few advertisers always had both brand goals and direct-response goals, but often had separate buying teams or agencies representing the different budgets. Other advertisers wanted both in a single campaign – the premium high-impact placements and the scale and pricing of traditional direct-response advertisers. The sell side was left scratching its heads on what to do.


Should Premium Inventory Be Sold In The Open RTB Market?

brianbrowniesellsiderThe Sell Sider” is a column written by the sell side of the digital media community.

Today’s column is written by Brian Brownie, director of advertising operations at eBay North America.

Programmatic, like many things in life, is an exercise in trial and error for most US publishers. Those with exceptional scale and a high-quality environment, backed by in-depth consumer insight, quickly became key sources of inventory for the exchange world. Growth was tremendous and the control was an operator’s dream. Soon, these publishers became accustomed to the fluid nature of the programmatic buying frenzy and unleashed the systems into all their standard IAB ad sizes.

But, as usual, when things seem too good to be true, it’s often because they are. While the floor rates and auction competition yielded high eCPMs, they distracted from the one key piece of the equation: selling. Where these publishers were once able to deliver a highly targeted impression to a consumer with a great degree of relevancy, the situation started to decay with the allure of automation. Brands that once coveted direct relationships now found themselves torn between an insertion-order commitment and the chance at efficiency in the form of lower prices and fluid spending. This, coupled with RFPs for banners drying up, signaled a radical change in the ecosystem.

Programmatic’s allure may be hard for marketers to resist, but buying large swaths of faceless inventory in the hope of hitting the target audience and getting performance at a low price may not deliver the kind of returns buyers are hoping for.


Overcoming Vendor Fatigue

edkozeksellsideupdatedThe Sell Sider” is a column written by the sell side of the digital media community.

Today’s column is written by Ed Kozek, senior vice president of product and engineering for WeatherFX at The Weather Company.

How would you say 25% of your week is spent?

If your answer is vendor meetings, you aren’t alone. My product team spends at least 10 hours every week on these meetings.

Publishers generally don't suffer from the “not invented here” bias that vendors are victim to, where there is innate resistance to using third-party technologies. Publishers focus on building compelling content to attract more users, relying on a set of levers and dials to maximize advertising revenue. We don't care if those levers are in-house or outsourced, but it does matter how many we use.

Partner relationships touch many groups, such as legal, product, compliance and ad ops. Working with too many vendors bogs them all down. It can also hurt your product by introducing latency, discrepancies and privacy concerns.


Eliminate The Word “Remnant” From Your Yield Strategy

peterspandesellsiderThe Sell Sider” is a column written by the sell side of the digital media community.

Todays column is written by Peter Spande, chief revenue officer at Business Insider.

I want to get out ahead of all the year-end stories about resolutions and predictions. If you are in charge of yield for a publisher and are still calling your indirect revenue channels “remnant,” you need to switch terms now. You can’t wait until 2015 to make this subtle but important change.

Remnant. It’s a word used to describe the leftover items sent to outlet stores or the scraps of fabric or dough that remain after constructing your primary product. Is this what you want your unfilled inventory compared to?

I realize it’s just a label, but it signals – both externally and internally – that this inventory is an afterthought, only slightly more important than waste. Unless you consistently sell out your inventory, you can’t afford to hold this attitude today, and you most definitely won’t be able to afford it in the future.

Like many things, the term “remnant” comes from the peculiarities of print publishing. Unlike in digital publishing, where ad supply and demand are loosely correlated, in print you can run remnant ads in the leftover pages of a folio. For example, if you sold 50 ad pages in a magazine, with a 50/50 ad-to-edit ratio, you’d create 50 pages of editorial. If you sold 35 pages of ads in the next issue but wanted to keep the same 50/50 ad-to-edit ratio, you’d generate 35 pages of editorial and wind up with a 72-page folio, which leaves two extra pages that would be sold off as remnant. Remnant was a very controlled part of the publisher’s business.