The Big Story: Investigations, Valuations, Valedictions

The Big Story podcast

The Big Story is a breezy new podcast featuring a roundtable of AdExchanger editors talking about the biggest stories from the past week. It is available wherever you subscribe to podcasts.

As much as agencies want the topic of kickbacks to go away, it seems like it’s here to stay now that the FBI has uncorked a criminal investigation. On Wednesday, the ANA – which years ago commissioned the catalyzing report examining rebates – advised its constituents that they were not obligated to participate in the FBI’s investigation.

This week on “The Big Story,” the AdExchanger team assesses whether and why marketers should or shouldn’t assist. No one doubts that the rebate problem persists, but is federal intervention required for its resolution? On the other hand, perhaps the FBI’s mere presence can snap some crooked players straight – and the industry could use a cleansing force from the outside.

Speaking of outside forces, AT&T’s purchase of AppNexus led to the inevitable: CEO Brian O’Kelley relinquishing the top spot at the company he founded. O’Kelley is no one’s follower, and his vision, along with his outsized personality and will to succeed, has been the driving force steering AppNexus safely through many perilous waters.

The AdExchanger team looks back at the man’s legacy – and his occasional conflicts – and discusses how to assess AppNexus in relation to its peers, including Criteo and current Wall Street darling The Trade Desk.

It seems there’s always an ad tech Wall Street darling. Once upon a time, it was Rocket Fuel. For a while, Criteo held the mantle. And these days, it’s all about The Trade Desk, whose valuation declined this month, but is up about 160% since the beginning of 2018. It’s looking good in the short term.

But can The Trade Desk’s’ fortune continue to rise, or will it eventually hit that ceiling that so many public ad tech companies seem to hit?

Join the AdExchanger team on “The Big Story” this week, as we look at what the past portends for the future.

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