Aol Gets Board Fight; Big Marketers Moving To Digital?; Right Media And The Triumverate

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Aol Board Brou-ha-ha

Aol investor Starboard Value LLP, which owns 5.2% of the company, is trying to make waves on the Aol board as Starboad issued a press release on Friday saying it wanted to remove half the Aol board and nominate five of its own candidates. It appears Starboard thinks that the value of Aol’s patent portfolio needs to get unlocked: “AOL owns a robust portfolio of extremely valuable and foundational intellectual property that has gone unrecognized and underutilized. This portfolio of more than 800 patents broadly covers internet technologies with focus in areas such as secure data transit and e-commerce, travel navigation and turn-by-turn directions, search-related online advertising, real-time shopping, and shopping wish list, among many others.” Somebody call a lawyer! Aol isn’t happy. Read Starboard’s release.

Reviewing Big Marketer Spending Cuts

On Ad Age, Jack Neff takes a closer look at whether announced spending cuts by big brand marketers means a move to digital – or they’re just getting cheap at their own expense. After overturning a few rocks, he finds a variety of data nuggets including this positive one for the digital camp: “People close to Walmart say digital has played a major role in applying the company’s ‘everyday low price’ approach to marketing. That means taking advantage of the lower cost-per-thousand of paid-digital advertising, as well as increasing reliance on earned- and shared-media impressions generated by social media.” Read more.

Right Media Intrigue

Adweek’s Tim Peterson inquires about the Microsoft-Yahoo-Aol deal as well the recent announcement by Aol to put inventory on Yahoo!’s Right Media Exchange (RMX). He writes, “One trading desk executive who initially considered the partnership a victory for AppNexus said that Yahoo was likely able to use its inventory – which is larger than MSN’s or AOL’s—as leverage to anchor the partnership, at least in part, around RMX.” Read more intrigue.

Targeting Guaranteed

Sell-side platform PubMatic says it’s getting more aggressive about targeting big publishers and their guaranteed inventory. Traditionally, SSPs have concentrated on remnant display but some are making noise. The release states that PubDirect is “a new management suite of tools and services powered by PubMatic’s optimization engine that accelerates the publisher’s ability to monetize their guaranteed and non-guaranteed inventory in a private marketplace that covers all demand channels.” Read it. The race to effective yield management on the guaranteed side will get even more powerful as a “dial” precisely manages how much to leave in guaranteed markets and how much remnant inventory should spill intp exchange-like pools. In addition to PubMatic, Google’s Admeld, Rubicon Project, Yieldex, Maxifier and others are looking to offer their solution.

ABCs of DSPs

Tremor Video’s Jason Burke says on MediaPost, “DSPs have made a nice foothold in display advertising, and while they are attempting to provide value to video marketers, the technical differences between display and video are forcing some to stretch their claims.” Fighting words! Video DSP TubeMogul’s Keith Eadie responds in the comments. “To talk about DSPs falling short on brand safety is galling. But instead of protesting in a comment thread, we want to make this real.” Draw! Read more.


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