The volume of web content has exploded over the last decade, producing a glut of ad inventory and dramatically reducing the ad rates publishers can charge. At the PaidContent 2010 conference today in New York, ad serving startup the Rubicon Project released a full frontal assault on the ad serving community in a manifesto declaring, “The ad server is dead, and there is a better choice.”
The Los Angeles based company took aim at existing ad networks for failing to give publishers the proper tools to sell targeted ad inventory.
Rubicon also took a jab at Google-owned Doubleclick, claiming conflict of interest amongst players providing services to both publishers and advertisers. “The technology available to them (publishers) in the marketplace today (and on the horizon) is at best outdated, and at worst putting them at risk, offered by companies whose interests conflict directly with their own.” Josh Wexler, Rubicon’s VP of US publisher development, stressed that publishers are looking for an alternative to Doubleclick. “I think publishers really feel like they’re in need of solutions that put publishers first.”
Doubleclick is both an ad server and an ad-exchange, buying impressions for advertisers while selling publishers’ ad inventory. Rubicon believes that Doubleclick is serving two masters and can’t represent the publisher’s best interests. Clients using Doubleclick to buy ad inventory are looking for the lowest possible rates. By only representing publishers, the Rubicon Project believes it can more effectively optimize returns for its ad serving clients. The manifesto was clearly written to increase negative sentiment towards Doubleclick amongst the publishing industry, which if successful could yield significant dividends for the Rubicon Project.
The manifesto was released in conjunction with the company’s launch of additional ad serving, forecasting, and campaign management features for publishers for both premium and non-guaranteed ad inventory. Rubicon also announced that it’s introducing new technology to provide self-service ad sales and improved automated demand access offerings and channel management.
The Rubicon Project’s client base includes traditional media clients like the Washington Post and USA Today as well as web-based publishers like Politico. According to Wexler, Rubicon’s clients had more ad impressions in aggregate than Yahoo. The company has raised about $42 million in Venture Capital to date from a number of investors including the Mayfield Fund and Peacock Equity, NBC/Universal’s venture arm.