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Publishers Rejoice As Platforms Shun Ad Networks

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LiveRail and AppNexus removing resellers from their respective platforms last week were two more nails in the ad network coffin.

If any publishers were upset, AdExchanger couldn’t find them. Just the opposite, in fact.

While some publishers still use ad networks, most have significantly pared back in recent years, and those that still work with them have high standards.

AdExchanger asked four publishers: What does LiveRail and AppNexus shutting down resellers on their platform mean for publishers? Do you work with ad networks, and why?

Click on the name or scroll down for the answer.

Matt Minoff MeredithMatt Minoff, Meredith Digital VP of ad platforms and operations

“There’s no need to keep paying middlemen when you can efficiently buy quality inventory directly from publishers via an exchange or private marketplace. There’s been a glut of low-quality inventory running through most exchanges. With advertisers focusing more attention on nonhuman traffic and viewability, the exchanges needed to purge low-quality traffic and inventory and focus on trusted publishers.

We stopped letting ad networks sell our inventory nearly a year ago. Allowing ad networks to bundle our properties with mid-tail and long-tail sites was devaluing our audience and inventory. We believe having direct relationships with agencies and clients leads to better results for both parties.”

Daniel Bornstein DM Daniel Bornstein, Demand Media SVP of platform revenue

“AppNexus and LiveRail have absolutely done the right thing. The digital ecosystem is suffering from a credibility problem that was largely created by bad actors. For far too long, a perverse dynamic has been at play. Click fraud artificially lowered the CPM for credible publishers and created a race to the bottom. Unfortunately, much of this fraud emanated from ad networks and other nefarious players.

At the same time, exchanges such as AppNexus and LiveRail have benefited. While they are not nefarious in and of themselves, scalability was borne from a laissez faire approach to inclusiveness. The shedding of these players from their exchanges is not only in response to buyer outrage, but also in response to Facebook and AppNexus wanting to disassociate themselves from these bad actors.

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We are excited to see this paradigm shift finally starting to emerge. This is for two reasons: 1) Bad actors unfairly penalize credible sites by putting an artificial downward pressure on CPMs and 2) Consolidation will bring advertisers and publishers closer together – something both primary stakeholders would benefit from.

We do monetize via exchanges that invariably have ad networks in their ecosystems. We’ve always worked hard to weed out nefarious actors, and we welcome the further reduction of partners.”

Erik Requidan Intermarkets Erik Requidan, Intermarkets VP of sales and programmatic strategy

“As a publisher evaluating partners this is a very good thing. It actually matches up with our overall strategy of decreasing lower-quality resellers as whole. If our partners are doing the same, the ecosystem improves. It must be a collaborative effort. Managing poor partners still costs someone a lot of money, in systems, surveillance and monitoring.

We work with some ad networks, but hardly any. Because we truly understand the value of our inventory across multiple layers, it is no longer acceptable to secure unfixed amounts of inventory at suboptimal pricing with no guarantees.

Two and a half years ago we decided to eliminate latency in waterfalling and improve overall ad quality. We have cancelled or terminated dozens of relationships that would have worked OK just 24 months ago. Many of these companies offer nothing different from each other, drain resources and time by managing them and are a threat to ad quality and brand safety.

Almost all ad networks are managed by our SSP. Those outside of our SSP need very specific minimums they must meet in terms of premium CPM and monthly minimum spends. Networks are having a harder time delivering their deals and at times struggle to understand why you won’t work with them. They think they are giving you money, but as a publisher you may actually be losing money.”

Jeff Sutton Advance Jeff Sutton, Advance Digital director of audience targeting

“We’re a reasonably large buyer on the AppNexus platform [for reach extension] and a much smaller buyer on LiveRail, and we strongly support any initiatives that help those platforms deliver better quality inventory. We don’t buy bottom-dollar inventory from either platform so we’re OK with paying a little more for quality inventory that AppNexus or LiveRail source through publishers.

We sell to quite a few ad networks and have a very carefully curated set of network partners that we prefer to work with. We look for network partners that have tight control over what they’re serving on our sites, and have a very low threshold once we begin to see problems. When done right, it’s great business. When done wrong, it’s a nightmare. But we’ve found a way to make a very profitable revenue channel by being clear and upfront about expectations and choosing to only work with partners who offer the same in return.”

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