Katsur Joins Publisher-Side Optimization Firm Maxifier As COO

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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?

Publishers don't have a toolset to say, "What does my entire inventory landscape look like? How do I properly value it, while also driving client performance? I think the SSPs are aspiring to do this, but they don't really quite offer true publisher optimization yet. [SSPs] are the next generation of the exchange.

[At Maxifier], it's basically impression-level selling versus impression level buying on the sell side. I can optimize every single impression on my site. It allows me to do things like understand, “What do I do with my unsolds? What do I actually push out to the SSPs versus what is truly my premium inventory?”

How about “the Google question?” Is Google going to overrun the sell‑side ad tech market at some point?

Google owns a channel. They own DoubleClick For Publishers (DFP) – and sure, they can they make a run with DFP. Is there hesitation in the market for Google to own the whole stack? Absolutely. Maxifier has customers that use DFP as well as other platforms now. There are multiple ad serving solutions out there. Yet, Google can only solve for DFP. Maxifier plugs into all the major pub side ad servers. So it doesn't matter what ad server you're using.

So, could Google make a run at it? They can. But I think the ecosystem, as a whole, both buyers and sellers, have concerns about having one company own an entire marketplace. I think people want options.

You’ve been in it a while now - what is your view overall on the ad ecosystem today?

There has been a tremendous amount of investment on the buy side. I think the sell side has been severely underinvested. I also believe publishers are waking up to the fact that there are a lot of things that are being monetized on their backs, for which they are not getting proper credit: “Hey, I provided you this audience. Maybe you didn't monetize it directly off of me. But you monetized that person I gave you eight impressions later. I should still get some credit for that.”

The sell side is starting to wake up to the fact that it’s getting under-attributed. So I think that's one effect of the ecosystem.

I also think you're going to see a shake out over the next 24 to 36 months where companies that are really just features need to actually become true operating companies.

There are going to be a lot more acquisitions and attrition. There are going to be some of your usual suspects – and there are going to be some dark horses.

You're going to see some unexpected pickups by the likes of maybe an IBM, maybe a Cisco. There are folks out there that are looking at this space. They're going to want to dip their toe in it.

Are you going to be building out a team? What's the plan there?

There is already a very robust engineering team at Maxifier. So it's really going to be about continuing to build out that engineering team and expanding on that aggressively. There are foundations for all of these different departments already. But there remains the need to expand upon client services, product, engineering, business development and look at all the processes – and then find efficiencies in those processes and aggressively come out with new features.

By John Ebbert

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