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Get yer finger out, Microsoft!

Apr. 04, 2011 8:07 PM ET
Please Note: Blog posts are not selected, edited or screened by Seeking Alpha editors.

OpenX's CEO Tim Cadogen's very compelling case for interoperability
[When Ad Exchanges Talk To Each Other], was published back in 2009 and progress along those lines is coming together each day that goes by. He explains:

What does interoperability mean?

In the simplest terms it means:

  • Supply can originate in one exchange but be made available for sale to buyers from other exchanges.
  • Demand can originate in one exchange but flow into other exchanges. For instance, an ad buyer can express its targeting rules, bids and budget on one exchange but also be connected to and able to buy supply originating from other exchanges.

More broadly, this means supply and demand can interact -- regardless of the primary exchange their owners (publishers in the case of supply and ad buyers, including networks, agencies and advertisers in the case of demand) are participating in.

Whilst it IS so very complicated at the end of the day (I feel), that the AppNexus (Microsoft) and Looksmart platforms will be the dominating (and unique) force - in a fully automated (global), OPEN marketplace.

It's so interesting to read that AppNexus Appointed Advertising Industry Veteran Ari Paparo as SVP
on 28 Mar 2011 - and he is out 3 days later (& "on the job"?), writing about that topic, of "interoperability".

In "VAST and VPAID Update in Which We Chase a Chicken" (March  31, 2011 - http://bit.ly/iabaripap) Ari talks of what was the existing lack of interoperability between the various XML formats for online video Ads - - where (he says) every publisher and ad network wrote their own XML for communicating from their ad server to their video player and generally, chaos had occured.

And that after the IAB set up VAST and VPAID with 'standardizing of the XML specification, vendors would only have to write code [the] once and interoperability would be within our grasp.'

Ari further advises:

"So what happened? The standards were surprisingly widely adopted. According to an IAB survey of its membership, 67% of publishers and 92% of technology vendors were VAST compliant as of Fall, 2010."

Back to Tim Cadogen's own great article & of a number of concerns that he talks of, he mentions that a ....

.. 'second concern is around transparency to both buyers & sellers. How will people know where their transactions are being executed'?

How will buyers know that the targeting parameters they used on one exchange (e.g. contextual categorization or behavioral targeting), will be applied to the inventory on a second, inter-operating exchange?

And perhaps most importantly, will buyers & sellers have direct insight into who they are buying from or selling to?

My own reckoning is that (with universal use of the AppNexus platform & primarily, to be eventually used by all publishers), then that required transparency can/will be provided across the total ecosystem or, in an OPEN marketplace.

Because I see it operating on behalf of the 'one end' (at all times being - publishers), consistent & accurate data relating to the above concerns will be the 'proof in the pudding' or, will be quickly accepted in a matter of time.

After-all, the 'pay and recieves' (between both the buy and sell sides, when centrally conducted between AppNexus and Looksmart), will be completely reliant on such accuracy. I'm sure this can (& has already?) be/been tested and proven, to be an efficient means of automation.

Data to be 'shared' between AppNexus and Looksmart.

I wrote that, Maybe Looksmart (it does seem so), get the Demand side platform 'rights' (and are now selling into those agencies and direct advertisers, as they have already told the market) and will soon get to operate as such - (and, on behalf of buyers), in a much more, conventional manner?

[Big Digital Advertisers to bring Exchange Buying 'In-House'?]


I feel that there's still a mexican-stand-off between Google & Microsoft (that would likely, also include Yahoo), but in time, they will all come together.

I wrote in my previous instapost, that I felt it's the very reason that Google had acquired Invite Media [http://bit.ly/dLXN0h], reminding readers again, that it's a 'universal buying platform', no?  (And what is to become a 'gate-way' into the global, OPEN marketplace?)

[< Founder Nat Turner: Now the advertisers can come in & say, "I can access 12 exchanges by creating one line item in Invite Media."> adage.com/article/special-report-audienc.../]

So Google and Yahoo advertisers will NOT be 'inter-connected', via AppNexus. (I expect - This ensures that Google, Microsoft and Yahoo will at all times - always then be, independently competing AGAINST each other. Let the 'bidding wars' for targeted users/inventory, then begin?).

And just as IAB members adopted VAST and VPAID (with some 67% of publishers and 92% of technology vendors becoming VAST compliant), this near complete "new" (revolutionary), and fairer to all ad/publisher (buy/sell) global marketplace will be embraced by all concerned.

To not become a part of it is to 'miss the boat', well & truly. No doubt.

So who 'inter-connects' both Google & Yahoo?

I have previously suggested and have shown that Google are already a part of Looksmart's own (albeit) fledgling (ad network and) its global marketplace. So Google (it does seem?), is almost what you could call - all 'dressed-up' with no-where to go, at the moment. As is Yahoo! In actual fact Yahoo! were described as being a significant traffic source (and presumably, through parts of the Looksmart marketplace), within the most recent CC. - But is not yet 'inter-connected' direct with Google in the LOOK marketplace, I feel. That can all change soon though.


Looksmart appear to do a lot of 'testing' and then abandon such traffic, handing it (back) over to AppNexus, is my 'gut' feeling.

We have been told, that...

.......“The LookSmart AdCenter is the first true open advertising exchange in the industry. - - - - Publishers can integrate their own advertiser relationships, advertising feeds and other advertising networks into a single auction marketplace.


GOOG awaits Microsoft to decide on it's 'fait', it would very much so appear, to me. Just as many long suffering Looksmart shareholders are waiting, like-wise, as Microsoft 'mop-up' the current 'bulk' of what $$$'s are there to be had. In spite of the more that $200B that is potentially out there!

[Online missing out on more than $200BN through Pig-headed-ness?]


I've felt (& for quite a number of years) that LOOK (with its platform built by Microsoft - current report), are the 'Cinderella-man' of this 'space'. - Patiently biding it's time over the past few years, for it's own 'day in the sun'. - - This time last year [Looksmart CEO's been told, that shareholders expect much more], when I (myself) had reminded all of "Oliver" asking Fagan (as from within the Dicken's classic), for some 'more' on his plate.


Get yer finger out, Microsoft!

LOOK: At 3:59PM EDT: $1.75  Up 0.15 (+9.37%)

All - Just an investor opinion.


ps; A great article here may hilite to some, just how well re-targeting will perform across a neutral (& blind to all), marketplace. Enjoy it!


pps; Smart Money has been Buying Shares

Disclosure: Long LOOK and happy to be so....

Seeking Alpha's Disclosure: Past performance is no guarantee of future results. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. Any views or opinions expressed above may not reflect those of Seeking Alpha as a whole. Seeking Alpha is not a licensed securities dealer, broker or US investment adviser or investment bank. Our analysts are third party authors that include both professional investors and individual investors who may not be licensed or certified by any institute or regulatory body.

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