He asserted that, because of this opacity, Xaxis’ clients see return on their investment.
However, Beringer said this lack of transparency puts clients at risk – for instance, paying for inventory that doesn’t exist and is therefore worthless.
“With us, you see what (the inventory) is,” Beringer said. “We have quality standards and control the stuff…”
“And in many cases, it’s not performing,” Lesser snapped, before adding a further warning to Beringer: “Be careful where you throw this mud. Because you may disclose your media prices. But do you disclose all the rebates you get from technology vendors?”
Lesser’s implication is that simply revealing media prices isn’t indicative of transparency, since agencies might receive discounts from technology partners – but those discounts aren’t passed over to clients. He added that clients who sign on with Xaxis are perfectly aware of how it makes money. In effect, Xaxis is transparent about its lack of transparency, and clients that sign contracts with the company aren’t bothered by this.
Beringer was skeptical. “Yeah, I’ve seen your contracts,” he said, though he didn’t elaborate further as the conversation devolved into shouting.
Lesser was clearly weary of the accusations Beringer leveled against his company.
“It’s sort of the playbook of how Publicis argues against Xaxis, and it’s all very messy,” he said. “It’s around transparency, disclosure and fraud. But at the end of the day, we perform.”
The panel's full transcript will be published later Wednesday.