I spent yesterday at the Right Media Open event in Half Moon Bay at the Ritz Carlton Hotel.
Right Media assembled an impressive list of executives and innovators including John Battelle of Federated Media, David Rosenblatt of DoubleClick, Scott Howe of Microsoft, entrepreneur Steve Jenkins, Jonathan Shapiro of MediaWhiz, Ellen Siminoff of Efficient Frontiers, and Yahoo!’s own Bill Wise and the Right Media team including Pat McCarthy to name a few.
It was an intimate gathering of maybe 120 people.
Much of the dialog at the event revolved around ad exchange market dynamics and how ad networks differ from exchanges. DoubleClick’s Roseblatt described the 2 as analagous to stock exchanges and hedge funds…there are a few large exchanges where everyone can participate and then there are many specialized networks that serve a particular market or customer segment. That seemed to resonate with people.
The day opened with a very candid dialog between Jerry Yang and IAB President Randall Rothenberg where Jerry talked about his approach to refocusing the company and his experiences at Yahoo! to date.
Battelle’s panel later in the afternoon was very engaging, as well. The respective leaders of the ad technology divisions at Yahoo! (Mike Walrath of Right Media), Miscrosoft (Scott Howe of Drivepm and Atlas) and Google (David Rosenblatt of DoubleClick) shared the stage and took questions from John who, as usual, didn’t hold back.
The panelists seemed to have similar approaches to the exchange market, though it seems clear that Right Media has a more mature approach, ironically due in large part to the company’s youth. Microsoft was touting its technology “arsenal”. And DoubleClick wasn’t afraid to admit that they were still testing the waters.
I also learned about an interesting market of middlemen that I didn’t know existed. For example, I spoke with a guy from a company called exeLate that serves as a user behavior data provider between a publisher and an exchange.
There were also ad services providers like Text Link Ads and publishers like Jim Mansfield’s PhoneZoo all discussing the tricky aspects of managing the mixture of inventory, rates and yield, relationships with ad networks, and the advantages of using exchanges.
I’ve been mostly out of touch with the ad technology world for too long.
Our advanced advertising technology experiments at InfoWorld such as behavioral targeting with Tacoda, O & O contextual targeting services like CheckM8, our own RSS advertising, lead generation and rich media experiences were under development about 3 years ago now.
This event was a great way to reacquaint myself with what’s going on out in the market starting at the top from the strategic business perspective. I knew ad exchanges were going to be hot when I learned about Right Media a year ago, but I’m even more bullish on the concept now.