Why online advertising will get easier for publishers (and why it won’t)

by Margo Wickersham Winter

Like so many things that migrate from traditional to digital, the principals that work for advertising are the same: it’s only the methods of delivery and content that change. Check out the post I recently wrote about the benefits of Keeping Things Weird in Marketing.


The concept of selling digital ads is basic enough — offer up a piece of screen and invite brands to buy it. But for publishers, the ad tech industry can feel like a mix of quantum physics and witchcraft.

Instead of simple transactions between publisher and buyer, digital ad sales rely instead upon a bewildering degree of middlemen who offer competing versions of a lengthy technology product. Ad executives say, for instance, that there are now eight different technologies just to count if an ad has even appeared.

“How f’ed up is our industry? Even after you work with five or 10 companies, you have to hire two more companies to find out what you achieved,” said Ned Brody, CEO of AOL(s aol) Networks, while speaking on Monday at AdExchanger’s Programmatic I/O conference in San Francisco.

The good news is that Brody predicts that the ad industry will consolidate and offer…

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