Shady Markets Rob Publishers Of Value

February 29, 2016
著者:Brian Stempeck – チーフ・クライアント・オフィサー


If you’re selling your home, the asking price is driven largely by multiple listing service data all real estate agents subscribe to.


But if you’re a publisher, you’re often in the dark when it comes to the value of your video content. If you partner with the wrong vendor, that’s where you’ll stay.

An Obvious Conflict Of Interest

A middleman representing both buyers and sellers has an obvious conflict of interest. Yet some publishers choose to overlook this conflict of interest and work with a combined demand-side platform (DSP)-supply-side platform (SSP), often citing the need to “lock in” a relationship with advertisers.

On a recent outing to look for a new home, I encountered a similar conflict of interest. Our agent showed my wife and me a home listed by the same company. Even before we set foot inside, we were asked to sign a waiver acknowledging the conflict of interest.



For one thing, programmatic plays a ubiquitous role in online video, so buyers and sellers have already established an open marketplace capable of shedding light on price, regardless of relationship. More importantly, quality online video inventory is scarce and demand is growing, which underscores the need for publishers to extract a market price that reflects that maximum number of bidders.

Why Publishers Overlook The Conflict Of Interest

Perhaps the most understandable reason for overlooking an obvious conflict of interest is the need to address reporting discrepancies. In theory, an all-in-one stack solves the very real problem of reporting discrepancies because the same tech on both sides of the deal should generate the cleanest data.


When a publisher chooses reporting over price discovery, what they’re really saying is that they’ll take less money as long as they don’t have to fiddle too much with spreadsheets. That would be laughable in real estate and heresy on Wall Street, yet online publishers that tolerate dark markets call it the cost of doing business.

Bias In The Tech Can’t Be Overcome

Despite the obvious conflict of interest and dubious payoff of a DSP/SSP, many publishers insist that, somehow, the tech is neutral. It’s not.

The mission of a DSP is to help advertisers find the best audience match at the best price. Advertisers use DSPs because different targets have different values. If you’re Toyota, you’ll pay more to find a customer who has expressed a high level of purchase intent versus someone who only loosely matches the target audience. DSPs are designed to find those targets, assign preferences based on real-time market conditions and execute media buys that apply all relevant data.

An SSP has a very different mission. They are engineered to help publishers optimize the balance between maximizing CPMs and fill. By their very nature, SSPs challenge the preferences that are in the DNA of a DSP, because whereas the former strives to raise the price and sell out on inventory, the latter is selective on inventory and price-sensitive. It’s illogical to believe that an all-in-one solution could serve both masters because where those two powerful tools meet in opposition is precisely where the market price is discovered.


Advertisers need strong publishers with sustainable business models. If advertisers are trying to buy audience, they can’t get very far working with publishers that are struggling to produce quality content. More importantly, advertisers and publishers alike benefit from an open market where buyers have widespread access to inventory. A successful campaign isn’t the cheapest one – it’s the media buy that delivers the best inventory while maximizing the advertisers spend.