Ad Networks, ‘an environment for lying and addiction’


manyadnetworks_small.jpgADOTAS — Almost spit up my coffee when I read this screed from Ari Rosenberg, a media sales consultant.

Put aside Ari’s obvious bias, considering his job, it’s the same complaints about ad networks I hear constantly. Cheapening inventory by basically undermining direct sales.

Are you aware of any other medium in which clients agree to make a media investment with the condition that they are not allowed to know what content properties their ads will appear on? And yet ad networks publicly contend they protect the identity of the content brands they siphon inventory from, by offering clients buys on a “blind basis.” So you mean to tell me, ad network sales reps calling on Nike, for example, who may have well regarded-sports sites in their bag of impressions, aren’t going to let buyers know that as part of their blind buy, their ads will appear on sites “like”

Except of course, that there are ad networks that become trusted partners, and I think Ari paints all with the same brush. As I have said before, as publishers shake the money tree, the ad networks that have better technology and are more open will win the day. And whenever that happens, there will still be complaints by direct sales teams dependent on what they sell. No options works better for them.


  1. I think your feedback is lacking in a bit of fact. With hundreds of “Networks” out there, you can’t paint them all with the same brush. It’s precisely because of criticism like yours that years ago several Networks and ALL EXCHANGES went to a completely transparent (read: you can even buy site direct before placing your buy) buying model. Maybe you need to look into Networks and Exchanges a bit more before making such a blanket statement.

  2. Reposting from what I said to Ari.

    Ari is aggregating all ad networks into the same bucket – blind and cheap. There is another role for another type of ad network – one that extends the value of the major publisher, gives that publisher more audience to reach and brings quality sites that are too small to successfully field a direct sales force. Vertical ad networks such as the 200+ powered by Adify Network Builder and others like Travel Ad Network and JumpStart are valuable complements for brands who want to work with direct sales teams they trust to reach larger yet targeted audiences where they spend the bulk of their time – and indulge in their personal interests and passions. Martha’s Circle, Forbes Business Blogger Network, SixApart VIP Media Network and AutoTrader Access are all distinctive vertical ad networks created and driven by successful media companies – and enabling them to bring more value to their advertisers. Adify Media works with all our networks to target cross-network brand campaigns to their publishers.

    I agree very much with the issues with addiction to blind ad networks – both from the publishers AND the advertisers. It devalues quality inventory. But vertical ad networks are a totally different beast. Adify Media, for one, is 100% transparent – from proposal to site and placement reporting.

    BTW – all Exchanges are definitively NOT 100% transparent. At best, some of the exchanges have some inventory that is 100% transparent. Adify Media, because we only sell inventory across networks powered by Adify Network Builder, sells inventory on sites that do not sell direct – and are happy to be fully transparent as are we.

  3. I think that there is a place for hybrid companies (like mine I must admit) can work with sites that have sales teams but cannot sell some categories or even some inventory. We are the exclusive sellers for a number of publishers and we also have a health network comprised of transparant sites. It is fairly simple to not cheapen the market yet provide an easy method for making reach goals. Cut out the categories or advertisers that publishers reach on their own while outsourcing the others.Close communication with publishers helps to avoid any overlap. Of course the short sighted networks will not accept this arrangement thus the backlash against networks. It does not have to be all or nothing–jack of all trades, expert of none.


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