Today’s Burning Question: Reaction to AOL’s Marketplace Announcement


ADOTAS — Today we asked our roster of thought leaders the following Burning Question: “What is your reaction the announcement that AOL is launching its own SSP, Marketplace?”

Here’s how they responded (check back for further updates).

“While efficiency is a wonderful goal, if you measure success in advertising on the basis of whether publishers are making high enough CPMs and advertisers are paying lowenough CPMs, you’re missing the point of advertising. The race shouldn’t be to the best CPM, it should be to the best results. The problem with the entire DSP/SSP discussion is that it only matters if the data that underlies the system is highly reliable.  Fellas, it ain’t.  Simple gender targeting is wrong almost as often as it’s right, people share computers, and backward-looking data is of limited use when time and attention move forward.  The data that matters captures an audience’s fleeting attention in real time, not the value of inventory in real time.  It’s not a supply-and-demand problem that needs to be solved, it’s an attention problem.” — Amit Avner, co-founder and CEO of Taykey.

“It’s of course not a surprise that AOL is following through on its plans to launch an SSP.  What will be a surprise is if many publishers choose to sign on to a captive SSP from AOL when there are more proven and independent SSP alternatives — such as PubMatic — available to them.” — Adam Lehman, President & COO of Lotame.

“Clean, reliable, quality supply will always be at the heart of media.  As publishers seek to retain a bigger piece of the value generated by their content and identity becomes increasingly tenuous it is only natural to condense the path between buyer and seller.  The Adtech stack has always been powerful and nimble, and ought to provide a solid framework.  The ‘preloaded with demand’ aspect is most intriguing: it will be interesting to see if this really boosts efficiency in AOL Networks overall enough to materially affect its efficiency.” Will Clayton, Sr. Director, Products and Privacy, TruEffect.

“AOL has long been a leader in ad technology and continues to develop incremental product offerings in support of its business. But I share the skepticism expressed in the [paidContent] article that someone is always coming out with a new shiny thing to make advertising cheaper. I am sure this product may in fact help publishers optimize among the many buyers that exist in the ecosystem and perhaps AOL is in a position to pay more for access to the publisher. But at the end of the day, claims that there has not been innovation on the publisher side are false. There has been an equal amount on both sides. Claims to put more money in the publishers pocket are also false as AOL can’t control the middle men. And if AOL is going to create competition for the publisher’s inventory, they will need to connect it to large pools of supply. That means DSPs. And once they do that, they might share 50 cents on the dollar. However that has already been reduced by other technologies before AOL or the publisher sees it.” — Alex White, GM, Data & Trading at DG.

“Historically, so much of technology development has been on the buy side, and we’ve long claimed that the needs of the Publisher are being underserved, so it is great to see world-class companies like AOL acknowledging this, and generally I think this is positive news for Publishers.  In fact, in Tim’s comments, there was a real emphasis on services in addition to product, so it will be interesting to watch that aspect of AOL’s SSP offering play out since I think the devotion to service and people is equally as important to technology in driving Publisher success. Bottom line: With access to both premium supply and a robust pool of demand dollars, AOL now has the potential to be a true competitor to the Google ad stack if they follow the right strategy and it’s consistently executed.” — LiveRail CEO Mark Trefgarne.

“AOL Marketplace is a useful component of a mature ad technology stack that AOL is positioning as an alternative to Google, and helps bring them to feature parity. What would be really interesting is if AOL would capitalize on their long experience as a premium publisher to bring programmatic capabilities to the direct sales model. This seems to be an area that Google hasn’t tackled yet.” Tom Shields, Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer, Yieldex.

“Another good move by AOL that makes total sense as they round out there tech stack coupled with their clout and reputation in the marketplace.” — Perry Nusbaum, SVP, National Sales, Aggregate Knowledge.

“I think the ‘inflection point’ that Tim {AOL CEO Tim Armstrong] references in his article is right on. Access to data across all channels and simplifying processes in order to efficiently scale a business will determine who takes advantage of the opportunity and who does not. AOL is on a clear path to lead this movement. — David Jakubowski, Chief Executive Officer, Aggregate Knowledge.


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