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Defining SSPs, Ad Exchanges And Rubicon Project

platform eraThe distinction between an ad exchange and a supply-side platform (SSP) has become muddled as the once disparate but complementary technologies have merged.

Rubicon Project’s description of its offering as an “Advertising Automation Cloud” in its S-1 filed Tuesday underscored that shift and showed how companies originating as SSPs have attempted to shed the label.

The blurring of borders is a sign of market stability, said Alanna Gombert, GM of Condé Nast’s CatalystDesk. “Right now, we’re in the media platform stage,” she said. “We’ve evolved into a more mature market.”

According to Gombert, the difference between ad exchanges and SSPs was primarily important during the ad-tech industry’s infancy, when SSPs existed to support publishers in the confusing ad exchange environment.

“There is a need to call things very specific names. … any time there’s an innovation in the marketplace, and innovations happen quickly in our market because it’s digital and digital moves quickly,” she said.

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Maxifier CEO Discusses New Role, Sheds Light On Expansion Plans

Denise-ColellaDenise Colella joined sell-side pricing and inventory manager Maxifier two years ago and quickly climbed the ranks from CRO to president before taking on the CEO’s role in October.

Colella replaced Anthony Katsur, who held the post for less than a year and is now an advisor for the programmatic direct marketplace iSocket and Involved Media, a social media agency. AdExchanger sat down with Colella to talk about her new role and her plans to take Maxifier’s services beyond premium publishers.

AdExchanger: Maxifier has gone through several CEOs in the past few years. What’s behind the high turnover rate?

DENISE COLELLA: Jonathan [Shaevitz] was brought on to help launch Maxifier as CEO and was there for almost two years. He mainly helps build teams and then moves on. He hired myself and Anthony Katsur, whom I’ve worked with since we were both at DoubleClick before moving on.

What were your respective roles in the company?

Tony’s background is more engineering and development-focused so he took over the product engineering and consulting services and I was running all the front-end parts of the business. Tony had been the CEO for about 11 months before we decided that we wanted to take a more customer-focused approach. I’m very excited about my new role and so far I’ve been meeting people, making sure the clients are comfortable as well as looking at the organization and deciding how we want to go on.

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Shiny Ads Says It Automates Direct Sales, Helping The Direct Seller

roy-pereiraToday, remnant, or unsold, media has been pointedly addressed by real-time biddable exchanges and their partners in comparison to the direct-sold market. But, Shiny Ads founder and CEO Roy Pereira says that in the last six months his company has seen a “warming up” from publishers in regards to creating efficiencies in the direct sales processes and adding some programmatic automation in the display ad sales channel.

And that’s exactly where he hopes his company can step in as an increasingly crowded space of  automated “direct” sellers – including isocket, Maxifier, AdSlot and others - look to mediate, if not replace, parts of direct sales with technology.

AdExchanger spoke to Pereira about his company and industry trends.  Shiny ads has announced deals with PubMatic (release) and Internet Brands (release) for the company’s self-serve ad platform in the past few months.

AdExchanger:  Why is programmatic “premium” or direct needed?

ROY PEREIRA:  There continues to be inefficiencies in the “premium” buying processes - there are many steps involved in buying one ad campaign, and it’s also a non-real-time event. We’re all used to buying campaigns now in real-time; direct sales is definitely not real-time.

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CEO Nibley Sees 'Big Data' Impacting Yieldex -And Publishers

YieldexAndy Nibley is CEO of Yieldex, a sell-side, yield management and analytics firm that has focused on providing publishers insight on their guaranteed inventory. Nibley provided an update to AdExchanger recently about his business.

AdExchanger:  Why has Yieldex been keeping a low profile in the past year?

ANDY NIBLEY:  We’ve had our heads down building the business brick by brick, client by client.  We don’t have any real competitors in this space right now, and we don’t feel like putting out a lot of information to encourage people to get into this space.  We’re just trying to build the business and not worry about how we appear publicly.

That said, we have integrations going on with ad servers, order management systems, particularly with data management platforms (DMPs) - a lot. We make DMP data actionable – and then the next question becomes, “How much inventory do I actually have to sell and how should I place that?”  We think the combination of Yieldex with DMPs is very powerful for publishers.

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Maxifier CEO Shaevitz Says It's Time For Programmatic Selling

MaxifierJonathan Shaevitz is CEO of Maxifier, an online advertising technology company, and recently spoke to AdExchanger. His company provides yield management solutions for sell-side companies and recently announced Economic Router which Shaevitz says provides a holistic look across guaranteed and non-guaranteed display media. Read the release.

AdExchanger: Do you consider yourselves a sell‑side platform (SSP)?

JS: The way SSP has been defined today talks about remnant inventory and bidding. We don't do either of those things. We're not a real‑time engine and, although we look at how remnant performs. And that's what the announcement about Economic Router is, we're not trying to create the smart pipe that's then linking in with the exchange or the DSP. If you think about what the terminology "sell‑side platform" is ‑‑ which is a platform that helps the sell side ‑‑ then the answer is yes, we’re an SSP.  But, the current definition in the marketplace leads you to PubMatic, Rubicon, AdMeld and maybe Metamarkets and some others. That's not the market we're in.

What problem is it that Maxifier solves?

Maxifier solves the ability to effectively maximize the value of the sell-side’s inventory – that’s for publishers and networks. My one qualification to that is people always equate value with margin or with revenue. For many publishers, that's certainly an important part of the component, but there are other things that they're dealing with in terms of relationships. Simpler things like renewal or "I know that this advertiser has an RFP out for another million dollars."

So when we deliver a recommendation set to our clients, we know that they know more than we do. We're dealing with data and we're dealing with extraordinarily large data sets that are difficult to organize and manipulate, and then to derive actual recommendations out of.

We do that well, but we also know that there are certain things that you're never going to be able to get out of the data. We're trying to empower the publishers and the networks to be able to effectively manage and maximize value, with "value" being a broad term, not just money.

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OpenX Adds LiftDNA To Serve Publishers And Their Ad Server Needs Says CEO Cadogan

OpenX and LiftDNAToday, publisher ad server and ad exchange OpenX announced the acquisition of publisher ad tech and services company LiftDNA. According to the release, "With the acquisition of LiftDNA, OpenX brings publishers a better way to optimize their ad revenue by unifying LiftDNA’s next generation SSP with OpenX's premium ad server and its ad exchange into one seamless platform. Since LiftDNA's solution is already integrated with OpenX's platform, LiftDNA by OpenX is available immediately." Read release.

OpenX CEO Tim Cadogan and LiftDNA CEO Vadim Telyatnikov discussed the transaction with AdExchanger.

AdExchanger: Looking at the service needs of the publisher and the ad server, are there aspects to this acquisition that speak to the importance of a service component in your business?

Tim Cadogan: Yes. One of the things that actually sparked a lot of the interaction between the two companies was the degree to which the LiftDNA team was working with the OpenX team to help solve customer's problems and drive their revenue. What the team has built is almost like an embedded ad ops or a revenue management function for their clients. So they're spending a lot of time with clients helping them think through and execute on how to make more money and how to tweak the way they're using the ad server. They put themselves in a unique situation because they're operating within the publisher's ad server and not a remote third party service.

And so very quickly the LiftDNA team has become a trusted confidant of the publishers who are using them. For us, importantly, it was a direction we wanted to go in. We're here to help the publishers make more money and that is a combination of giving them good technology, liquid marketplaces with a lot of options, whether they be traditional network demands or real-time demands, and service and assistance.

For us, that was one of the three or four most important things. It was these guys had built already a pretty strong competence in this area and that was something we felt we could benefit from. Vadim, it's close to your heart so you probably have a perspective on that, too.

Vadim Telyatnikov: When we speak to the publishers one of the things we talk about with them is how to view us. In a lot of cases, it's as an extension of their ad ops team.  They'll call us with all sorts of questions. It might be around, "How can I traffic this campaign?" to "Why isn't my campaign delivering?" to "Which vendor should I choose?"

Due to how many companies are in the space, it's hard for publishers to know. Everybody pitches similar things, and it's hard for publishers to digest that and know which companies can add-in value and which ones can't. We can help them figure that out.

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Apps For Ad Serving Make Sense For Publishers Of All Sizes Says Adzerk CEO Avery

James AveryJames Avery is CEO of Adzerk, a publisher-side ad technology company.

AdExchanger.com: Why focus on publisher ad serving as opposed to advertiser ad serving?

JA: The reason is publishing. I view publishing as crucially important to us as a society.

When I originally started running ad networks, the reason was due to the fact many of my friends - including myself - had blogs but we weren't making any money. Basically, we would run AdSense and get $.50 to $1.00 CPMs. So, as a side business, I went and started an ad network to get the $5.00 to $10.00 CPM's and make it worthwhile for them to create new content and spend more time on their site.

So, I look at ad serving as a publisher side tool that I can use to support the people to whom I really relate - the content creators and people who are putting themselves out there for free and need to make money from advertising in order to do it.

Please share a quick top line on your background before Adzerk. And, where did the name for the company come from?

Before Adzerk, I was a software developer and worked at Dell and at Avanade, which is a joint venture between Microsoft and Accenture - essentially high‑end consulting. Then I went out on my own and started a consulting company called Infozerk. The Infozerk name came from "berserk" - a term I like - and I wanted something that stuck in people's minds a little bit more than other consulting names which are a bit more tame. I'm not tame. So Zerk represented me as a consultant pretty well. After Infozerk, I started working on running ad networks and that company became ZerkMedia. The original software I used to run those ad networks became Adzerk. So, I came from an engineering background and fell into the media world.

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Kirk McDonald Joins Pubmatic As President

Kirk McDonaldToday, PubMatic announced that Kirk McDonald (LinkedIn), who was President, Digital of Time Inc, has joined the company as its President. Read the release.

McDonald discussed his new role and the larger publisher landscape with AdExchanger.com.

AdExchanger.com:  Why is PubMatic the right next step for you?

KM: Here's the truth. I believe that the industry is beginning to consolidate and, at the same time, publishers are becoming more and more sophisticated. Yet, media technology still isn't publishers’ core area of strength. Automation for publishers requires not just inventory management, but data management, and eventually, dynamic content management. And, the solutions publishers require are not something that they really should or, today, have the confidence to build for themselves. So, the media tech space that provides automation to publishers still has a huge opportunity ahead and a growing list of customers that need to be served.

I'm excited about where PubMatic is. I'm excited about the fact that their platform is as robust as it has been up until now and the fact that they're thinking about diversifying and adding on incremental products beyond what they offer their clients and constituents today. And I'm excited about the fact that they're unencumbered to do so right now. So, I have no criticism for Google and AdMeld. I have no criticisms for what Rubicon Project is doing or their ambitions. I am very excited, though, about the fact that PubMatic doesn't have integration or a merger to deal with as a priority for the next year or two. It means that PubMatic is going to be able to keep focused on innovation and focused on growth. So that's the excitement for me.

What have you seen on the large publisher's side, within the past year or two, in regards to a shift in thinking in digital?

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Katsur Joins Publisher-Side Optimization Firm Maxifier As COO

KatsurAnthony Katsur, whose experience ranges from VP of Engineering at DoubleClick to his most recent role at demand-side platform MediaMath where he spent two years as the company’s General Manager. Today, Katsur is announcing that he’s joining publisher optimization firm Maxifier where he will become the company’s COO.

In an interview with AdExchanger.com, Katsur indicated that he remains very bullish about MediaMath but was ready for a new challenge after spearheading the building of the new version of MediaMath’s Terminal One platform.

Katsur discussed the new role and its implications with AdExchanger.com.

AdExchanger.com: Please share a bit about what you’re doing next.

TK: I'm moving into a company that's purely pub‑side optimization in a box. It helps publishers optimize campaign performance for premium guaranteed direct buys. The company is called Maxifier. It's based here in New York City with offices in London and Russia, and a strong European client base.

It's another opportunity very similar to MediaMath, where they've got a great core base of customers and platform today. But now it's time to take it to the next level. I will be going on board as COO.

What is the overall trend in the space that you are seeing right now, where Maxifier has a clear opportunity?

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Collective Extends Sell-Side Platform Capabilities With AppNexus Partnership

Collective, AppNexus, SSPYesterday, Collective announced AMP Exchange which it positions as a sell-side platform and says "allows publishers to create private exchanges using Real-Time Bidding (RTB) without separately managing reserved and pre-emptible inventory." AppNexus is helping to provide the technology of the new offering. Read the release. Peter Longo of IDG Tech Network is quoted in the release. IDG Tech Network has been a client of sell-side platform Admeld.

Collective CEO Joe Apprendi discussed the announcement and its implications.

AdExchanger.com: Why move into the sell-side platform space?  Are you pivoting?

JA: Collective has been serving the sell-side, specifically premium publishers, with AMP since 2008.  Today, we power some of the largest media companies already using our data and media management platform.  It was only natural for us to extend our SSP capabilities to include ad exchange functionality.  With this application, we now provide publishers with a complete monetization and analytics solution no matter where they source ad demand, whether through their direct sales channel on a guaranteed basis or via indirect channels using RTB. AMP Exchange is about integrating the programmatic buying channel with the direct-sales channel.

Now that Collective has an exchange, an ad network, a sell-side platform as well as other solutions, isn't there a danger of appearing to represent everyone when clients on the buy or sell-side are looking for a solution that represents them alone?

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