Microsoft Acquires AdECN Electronic Advertising Marketplace
AdECN independent advertising exchange is independent no more. Microsoft has acquired it. AdECN was aiming to be for banner advertising, what AdWords is to text based advertising, as I described a few months ago when AdECN was prospecting the UK. William Urschel, founder and chief executive officer, AdECN states:
"Joining forces with Microsoft will provide the capital and resources to enable AdECN to scale the exchange at a much faster pace, making it more attractive to the advertising networks and other traffic aggregators looking to better serve their advertisers and publishers.
The move adds to pressure on traditional marketing agencies margins. Microsoft now joins Google in dis-intermediating agencies out of online advertising. A great move for publishers and advertisers.
And The Bad News
With a dependent exchange, where the exchange is also a publisher, other publishers inevitably compete on unequal terms. Google's Adsense advertising platform shows little of how campaigns are sold to different web sites, and the margins it makes on the sale are secret. William Urschel, nevertheless, pledges to continue with his vision of transparency,
All of us here are thrilled to join a team that shares our commitment to neutrality for the exchange and also believes that creating liquidity and intelligently matching supply and demand will be two of the most important roles for a technology provider to play in this rapidly growing and evolving market , William Urschel
Microsoft also states that it will maintain the Exchange's independence and transparency
Rather than an ad network, a true ad exchange is the neutral, transparent, automated connection between multiple ad networks. Both groups will benefit from the exchange’s neutrality and transparency, enabling them to make more informed decisions about their bid and ask decisions. Microsoft on AdECN
I remain skeptical. It would require exceptional governance for Microsoft to respect this statute at the expense of profits. The press release mentions the term "ROI" five times. Most likely prices, buy/sell margins and volume allotments will become as opaque as Google's.
We are down to American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAAA) and their subcontractor arbinet, to create an independent exchange where publishers have equal rights, and the market has visibility over how inventory is bought and sold.