First up, Yield Build. The company led by CEO Paul Edmondson has launched a new premium text ad network for publishers that optimizes Google AdSense ads in combination with somewhat exclusive Microsoft PubCenter ads and produces a yield improvement of 100% to AdSense alone according to a TechCrunch article. The Yield Build blog confirms the performance improvement and adds, "In addition to performing well, the ads are attractive and demonstrate excellent contextual breadth." The ads evidently optimize according to ad layout, style, and network and take about 100,000 impressions to get the hamster peddling properly.
The Rubicon Project announced that it's raised an additional $13 million of funding with participation from Clearstone Venture Partners, Mayfield Fund and IDG Ventures Asia. This brings their grand total to $33 million. CEO Frank Addante says in the release, "Up next is expanding our technology to answer customer demand around the optimization of non-guaranteed ad inventory; we’ve established the largest source of demand online for premium publishers, and we’ll extend that demand opportunity to all of their inventory.” We assume this means enabling more access to inventory for advertisers. In fact, next week at Ad:Tech SF, should be interesting, too, as Rubicon Project is introducing Rubicon OnDemand - "an efficient, easy and lucrative solution for ad networks and other audience sales representatives in search of premium inventory." Sounds as if the advertiser side of the exchange is about to take off. Why not optimize at both ends (so to speak) and fulfill the promise of an ad exchange.
Publishers will now be encouraged to route their ad impressions into the OpenX Market through tools that are already integrated into OpenX's established ad server. After publishers define a minimum "floor" price for their ad impressions, the market then runs a real-time auction for each impression.
A commenter on the MediaPost article suggested that OpenX will need to do a lot more to differentiate itself than just allow pubs to set a floor price as RightMedia is already a big player in the space. We say ... whoa, easy now, this horse race is far from over. OpenX still has a ton of publishers and impressions that can be harnessed. As other yield optimization competitors have found, build the publisher side first, then plugin the advertisers and ad networks with targeting, data feeds and analytics capabilities. (Ultimately, no one will own the ad exchange, fyi. Write it down. And, it's still going to be good ($$$) for everyone. But, that's a post for another day.)
Finally, Yieldex's CEO Tom Shields opened the kimono a bit (whoa now) in an interview with techrockies published today. Shields suggests that fellow yield optimizers PubMatic, Rubicon Project and AdMeld would be great partners. And the key Yieldex differentiator is? "The inventory that we (Yieldex) manage for our customers is the premium inventory."
Consider yourself optimized.