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Along with the lack of a standard audience metric, one of the main things holding back display ad sales at major ad agencies is the fact tha…

Jt Batson, president, Donovan Data Systems

Along with the lack of a standard audience metric, one of the main things holding back display ad sales at major ad agencies is the fact that most of the transactions are still done manually, sometimes still by fax. The Rubicon Project and Donovan Data Systems have been working on a platform that will serve as a direct, automated pipeline that will allow agencies to access publishers’ inventory with a few clicks — and, they hope, unlock the 90 percent of display advertising that is not transacted through real-time bidding.

The two companies have been working on the platform for over year. Last summer, JT Batson left his post as Rubicon’s EVP for Revenue and Global Development to become the head of Donovan’s digital division. That helped to solidify the partnership that preceded his move. The deal doesn’t involve any equity or other financial arrangement, Rubicon CEO and founder Frank Addante told paidContent.

The partnership is merely cross-promotional in a sense, as it will help Rubicon provide more direct revenue to its publisher clients, while Donovan becomes more involved in agencies online media buys. That’s especially important for Donovan right now, since it’s now facing real competition on the internet business from companies such as Mediabank, which is headed by ex-Yahoo/Right Media exec Bill Wise.

In essence, the program links Rubicon’s display advertising inventory on its REVV for publisher platform, and enable agencies to trade directly with premium web publishers through iDesk, the Donovan digital campaign management tool.

“Donovan is the biggest, most dominant player in the business of managing agencies media buyers, so it makes sense for us to work with them,” Addante said. “We break our automated system down into three buckets: the first is RTB, the second is the self-serve system on REVV and MyAds, which came over in the Fox Audience Network transaction, and third is the deal with Donovan.”

“We see this deal as solving a big problem in the market,” Batson added. “The manual process is wasteful, inefficient and it’s held back the online space. Making it easier to buy online inventory directly is win for everybody.”

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