Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Losing Control Using Online Ad Networks

A (surprise) FREE Wall Street Journal article reveals the dark side of using online advertising networks. When I worked with a large car OEM (ok, it was Nissan) and we were developing strategy for media with the online media team, I would always want to try to buy ad networks. I reasoned that because they spanned across many different sites and genres, maybe we could not only get great ROI, with cheap inventory and optimizing as we went, but we could possibly discover new areas where our message hits particularly well and gets results.

Our media buyers were never willing to give in on that, saying that they lose too much control of the placement of ads. Well, I had been in enough of those ad network pitches to know a thing or two, so I would counter saying that the networks have controls for limiting you from being placed in undesirable placements, and that surely, they listen to you when you say that you want certain sites and genres excluded from your buy.

Well, apparently they were right and I was wrong. In the article, huge brands found themselves in places they didn't want to be, like Disney being put next to an article about male sexual performance on

Chalk one up for the media nerds.


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