ADOTAS – There’s lots of buzz in the industry about the Yahoo, Microsoft and AOL collaboration recently announced. By all accounts, this is an effort to catch up to and compete with the Google display advertising juggernaut.
When I first heard the announcement, I was dubious. Like tying the Hindenburg to the Titanic was the thought that came to mind. How could these players possibly join together and work collaboratively when they can often barely work within their own four walls effectively?
But as I thought more about it, I think the answer is actually quite simple and elegant: they don’t have to.
If they’re doing what I now think they’re going to do, the partnership will have the following features:
- High-quality RTB inventory;
- Exclusively available inventory (that is, inventory that isn’t available on any other exchange); and
- A platform that the industry has widely adopted and is currently leveraging with their existing bidders.
Here’s the simple beauty of this solution – there is really not much required collaboration between the companies other than basic rules, floors and making the inventory available in an exclusive fashion. They can get it in their own way!
At the same time, advertisers and trading desks will be all but forced to use it. There’s just too much scale to ignore and there is no downside and only upside to accessing this inventory in addition to the other exchange inventory.
Let’s face it, the only reason the Right Media Exchange even still matters at all today is because it’s the only way to get Yahoo Class 2 inventory in a somewhat programmatic fashion. In a similar vein, if access to Yahoo, AOL and Microsoft owned and operated inventory MUST come through this platform, then the trading desks must use it.
Then the final whammy: Facebook. If Team YahMicAOL isn’t talking to Facebook yet, they will be soon. Facebook inventory won’t be going to Google, and if they can control the environment through the right platform, they could be the ultimate addition to this unlikely triumvirate.
Neil Mohan at Google sounded unfazed in his response. I’m now beginning to be dubious about that.