Our friends at DoubleClick have been in the news lately. I’ve largely ignored the acquisition hype as one thing is likely certain for which speculation is just that, they will be acquired. By whom is an interesting discussion but one purely academic.
The frontrunners for the acquisition seem to be Microsoft and Google. I’ve read a lot of opinion lambasting either possibility with Microsoft gaining a robust ad network that could then become much more pervasive on your desktop and in your home to increasing Google’s already significant lead in a race to serve and manage all advertising online (or perhaps I should say ‘all advertising’). With Google’s move into Print and Radio, they are certainly becoming an ad network as opposed to a mere search engine or Portal.
What caught my attention today though was news from the Times that DoubleClick is releasing an exchange board similar to those used for the buying and selling of stocks on NASDAQ or NYSE; this, for the buying and selling of digital advertising. The solution is quite literally an auction, bringing buyers and sellers together to negotiate for ad space. Today, DoubleClick is best known for display ad serving, management and tracking. To support that, they need to enable distribution of ads through their network to web publishers. So why not bring the two together while serving as a broker for which a commission no doubt applies? After all, they do everything but sell the inventory.
Unique to the new DoubleClick service is that advertisers will have much more transparency to competitors bids than is available today through Paid Search channels. Their expectation is the transparency will help advertisers maximize their return (in turn, using DoubleClick and spending more) while giving the publisher visibility to demand, helping them maximize ad inventory.
This new technology will certainly make DoubleClick more attractive to suitors as the service nicely complements Google’s AdSense by enhancing its reach and appeal to display advertisers. Microsoft, on the other hand, would benefit from the acquisition of an AdSense like network putting them firmly in a strong position in advertising online. In either case, stay tuned, a tried and true online advertising staple is about to shake things up.