Battelle, ESPN: The Trouble With Ad Networks

Battelle takes a deep look at the difference between media companies and ad networks at Searchblog, and how the big online portals are confusing the two.

“Do we [in the media business] sell inventory to the highest bidder via algorithms, automated processes, and platforms? Or do partner with marketers and creators of media to build brands – both media brands, and consumer marketing brands?

“I know how the folks who no longer work at AOL, Yahoo, or MSN feel about this question. They’re all brand people. And it’s entirely clear how the Google-chasers have answered that question: They’ve collectively spent billions of dollars amassing ‘access to inventory’ and ‘ad platforms’ in single-minded competition with Google.

“It seems the future, according to AOL, Yahoo, and Microsoft, is in ad networks.”

Meanwhile, one of the top brands in quality content and marketing relationships with global brands, ESPN is severing ties with ad networks:

“The sites like ESPN have cut ties with Specific Media and several other ad networks saying that ad selling that relies heavily on arbitrage and algorithms is not for them. ‘We’re heading down a path where it no longer suits our business needs to work with ad networks,’ said Eric Johnson, Vice President, Multimedia Sales, ESPN.”

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