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The Ad Network's Ad Network

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I don't fully understand the technology behind Right Media, a remnant inventory ad network and publisher-side ad optimization firm founded by former DoubleClick Media execs.

The company's platform takes publishers' bulk remnant inventory and assigns unique values to each impression on the fly -- instantaneously -- on a per-advertiser basis. It sets these values, which it calls effective variable CPMs, using criteria including creative, behavioral and contextual elements. Publishers seem to love it. Impressions trafficked on its network were five billion in March and 10 billion in June.

But there's something more compelling than the technology, the growth, or the changes it wreaks from a media buyer's point of view (it's not too different from any remnant network buy, according to agency execs I spoke with).

The interesting part is how other arbitrage networks are responding to it. CEO Mike Walrath says many -- ostensibly competitive -- networks have begun placing their inventory with RM. It's an unusual new chapter in the resurgence of ad networks, begun sometime last year. We've had blog networks, behavioral networks, RSS networks, values-based networks, and now -- apparently -- network networks.


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