Facebook’s LiveRail Cans Some Ad Network Customers As It Goes Direct-To-Publisher

TightFacebook doesn’t want umpteen degrees of separation between its LiveRail exchange and the stable of publishers who use it to monetize, and the company is taking swift action to cull intermediaries.

In an email obtained by AdExchanger, Facebook says it will terminate publisher services for an undisclosed number of customers (namely third-party resellers of desktop video inventory) by the end of November, citing a push toward “quality, direct-publisher relationships.”

Here’s the full text of the email received by one partner:

October 27, 2015

Re: Termination of LiveRail Publisher Services and Applicable Agreement

Dear LiveRail Customer,

LiveRail is shifting its business focus toward quality, direct-publisher relationships. As a result of this shift in focus, LiveRail will discontinue your use of our publisher services as of November 30, 2015. The applicable agreement covering such publisher services will be deemed terminated as of this date. Please note that you will still be responsible for payment for all invoices for services rendered between now and date of prior to the date of termination and any other obligations that survive termination under the applicable agreement. Also, please be advised that your access to any reports or data available through our service will cease on the termination date. Please reach out to xxxxx@xxxxxxx.com if you have any questions.

Sincerely, The LiveRail Team

Facebook declined to comment or confirm the number of LiveRail customers affected.

Facebook’s move to shore up more quality supply follows a similar move by AppNexus, which has abolished impression resale on its platform and thus dramatically consolidated its supply chain. 

Such moves by platform players are seen as a way to fight fraud and invalid traffic, while strengthening direct ties with the “principals” in media transactions: the publisher and advertiser.

“We’ve heard there are about 150 networks and partners they’re turning out, which – to be fair – some were phony accounts or very small customers who hardly used the platform,” said one source who asked to remain anonymous. “They want to clean up bad inventory sources to improve the overall quality of supply.”

LiveRail is well entrenched with premium publishers. It powers both private marketplaces and yield management functionalities for video portal Dailymotion, Hulu and Gannett. More recently, Facebook converted some of LiveRail’s capabilities into a monetization engine for exchange-based, in-app mobile display and native formats.

“Facebook’s move to premium, direct-publisher relationships is necessary,” noted Frank Sinton, CEO of mobile video platform Beachfront Media.

“However, it marks the loss of an independent ad technology platform,” he added. “It remains to be seen how this will impact the entire publisher market. Since the original video SSPs are now part of large media companies, we know there is a big opportunity to serve publishers and brand advertisers via an independent video SSP.”

Another partner noted that while Facebook’s moves could reduce overall impressions, ad networks and trading desks who buy low and mark up high would naturally be most affected.

Allison Schiff contributed.

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  1. When Facebook acquired LiveRail they said nothing would change for clients, well that clearly is not the case now. Seems they only acquired LiveRail for the technology to power Facebook video ads. Independent video SSP is the way to go.

  2. Robert Mcdonagh

    Liverail is actually kicking out all of those partners who helped them to build their business by directly competing with them via direct relationships they used to utilize via now to be X-partners.

    I am sure they believe this is the right way of doing business, but only time will tell if it was a the right thing to do, in many other cases in the past (ie. Right Media @Yahoo!) it didn’t and once the platform was trying to resurface their past partners they found themselves lonely as Robinzon Kruso was.

    Good luck.

  3. A really, really good move. The industry needs to distance itself as fast as possible from the bulk of brokers and middle men who serve no one but themselves. The Video market is incredibly ripe with fraud and it all come from the same sources – these small ad networks and brokers. And they’re all using LiveRail. This is actually great for the industry at large as it will force the parasites and adnothings to go find their next scam… Which currently is the mobile app install business.

  4. Terry,
    From my personal experience working with LR, major challenge for the network, which wanted to succeed with LiveRail, was effective filtering of the fraud traffic coming from the direct publishers. Ironically, large part of such publishers also accounted as “direct” by LiveRail itself, kept their LR accounts, while networks with fraud detection and prevention abilities got service termination.