But, wait. Collective Media and its CEO, Joe Apprendi, just enjoyed an impressive raise of $20 million courtesy of Accel Partners and iNovia Capital. Ch-ching. Looks like someone sees value in ad networks in spite of the drone of recent criticism which says otherwise.
According to MediaPost, investors were impressed:
In a super-saturated market for ad networks, what attracted Accel to Collective? "In particular, the AMP targeting and display advertising management platform," according to Sameer Gandhi, a partner at Accel. "That set them apart in the ad network space."
The article also gives insight on revenue momentum in 2008 but nothing for the current market, "In 2008, Collective claims to have experienced a revenue increase of over 200%, along with an EBITDA increase of 333% year-over-year. "
Given the investment, participating VC firms surely see a big payout as the economy unwinds itself from its most recent bloodletting and technology differentiation makes the cream of ad network legions rise to the top.
For ad networks, in the future, they'll either be using their own platform or the platform provided by other exchanges and networks. Value is brought through their own technology and/or their expertise with such technology.
Within Collective's toolkit is Personifi, their contextual targeting technology which TechCrunch alleges Collective Media paid "eight figures" for in 2008.
In addition, TechCrunch points out Collective Media also allows publishers to create their own vertical ad networks with Amp For Publishers. We're not sure this is a true vertical network (a la Adify and others), though. It would seem Collective offers publishers the opportunity to re-target on sites within Collective's network - still, a powerful option.