Microsoft, AOL and Yahoo will adhere to a common set of API specifications for direct programmatic ad sales so that buyers won't have to adjust their technologies when trying to access the portals' respective inventory through automated processes. The three expect to continue to revise the guaranteed programmatic sales specs over time, Sheinberg added, noting that Yieldex, iSocket and MediaMath are participating with the trio on what can best be described as a work in progress.
Secondly, it has nothing to do with the alliance the three initiated two years ago that involved the shared selling of each other’s non-reserved display inventory. While not much has been said about that pact, Sheinberg said that it is still alive and relevant.
"That agreement to leverage each other's remnant inventory through programmatic is very much in place and serves a very different purpose from the one we've just started around direct sales APIs," Sheinberg said. "The earlier project with AOL and Yahoo is about driving scale in our network offerings. It's been successful and we see it continuing."
This new alignment with AOL and Yahoo comes several months after Microsoft sold its ad serving platform Atlas to Facebook. At the time, the thinking was that Microsoft was getting out of the ad tech business after trying to go head to head with Google following the search giant's purchase of DoubleClick in 2007. But Sheinberg said that Microsoft Advertising is forming big plans to build out its AppNexus-powered exchange globally -- it's currently operating in 16 markets around the world -- and across devices.
"Over the next year, we'll be expanding to different markets and ad formats," he said, though he noted that nothing specific has been put in place. Sheinberg also declined to say what amount of programmatic volume goes through the network on monthly basis. "If you think about Microsoft's portfolio of ad offerings, we have just launched Skype on the exchange, and we're working to see what we can do with Xbox and the Windows App Inventory. But at the moment, the focus is on driving more quality inventory. And this is a first step."