Google held a meeting Thursday with its top publisher partners to discuss numerous new product changes, collectively called “unified pricing,” that could upend publisher strategy and leave them with less control over their ad inventory.
It soon got heated.
Multiple publishers in the group, whose attendees included The New York Times, News Corp, Dotdash, Watson Advertising, Tribune Media, Business Insider, NBCUniversal, Condé Nast and Forbes, pushed back strongly against the unified pricing changes, which will move into open beta next week.
Two of the unified pricing changes were particularly contentious among publishers.
First, publishers often set different floor prices for different platforms. Many set Google AdWords at a higher floor price, since its demand often bids very low due to its superior data. Under the new rules, publishers can’t set rules at a platform level, which Google calls the “buyer” level.
Second, publishers also set rules around floors to ensure price consistency across programmatic and direct deals, known as “competitive exclusion.” But the unified pricing changes restrict publishers to setting only 100 rules. Many big publishers with robust direct sales, like The New York Times and The Weather Company, use hundreds of different rules at a time.
They worry that the changes to unified pricing will keep them from setting consistent pricing for their advertisers.
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