Google Takes on OpenX

11 Comments

This morning, Google said it was launching a hosted ad server program for small- to medium-sized web publishers called Ad Manager. As it happens, I was on the phone with James Bilefield, CEO of open-source ad-serving company OpenX (formerly Openads). Bilefield gave the usual this-validates-our-market spiel heard from entrepreneurs whenever a large competitor enters his company’s space, but he was also eager to point out that Google’s version is hosted, whereas OpenX can be downloaded and run on a publisher’s own servers — keeping their revenue and ad information in-house.

Right now, OpenX serves about 30,000 mostly small- to medium-sized publishers with “billions of ads per day,” according to Bilefield. Google’s recent buy of DoubleClick gives it an ad server for the large sites, but Bilefield says that now that the deal has closed, OpenX is winning a few customers based on worries that Google, which is both a publisher and an ad server, might compete against some of DoubleClick’s clients. It’s a similar argument made in the OpenX blog today.

Bilefield is nonplussed by this argument announcement, noting that Ad Manager has been in trials for a year and is now opening up only in public beta (to be fair, that’s how Google does things). OpenX recently scored $15.5 million in a second round of funding, and announced its own hosted ad server. OpenX makes most of its money helping ad networks source publishers. If Google Ad Manager takes off in the smaller publisher markets that OpenX services, advertisers may turn to Google for that service, or see OpenX as second-tier.

11 Comments

Daniel Tsieh

OpenX and Google Ad Manager are both OK for large and bureaucratic organizations, such as newspapers.

For most individuals and small to medium sized businesses, either of these solutions is way too complex and labour-intensive to be practical. Not to mention the fact that you’ll be locked out of Goolge Ad Manager if your AdSense account is disabled.

uniQlicks is much better. There is no learning curve, and it makes inserting and switching ads easy for those people who need that ease the most – bloggers, work-at-home site owners, etc.

djniyi

“OpenX has advantages over a hosted solution – namely an Open API, which allows for customization. I don’t see anyone that is serving ad volume at a rate where they have resources to run there own server, not wanting to do so”

Hi Andrew,

Good comment. However, I don’t think “control” and “hosted solution” are mutually exclusive. After all, Salesforce.com provides control and hosting as a joint benefit.

Frankly, I think our company – Trafficspaces – is going to be better than OpenX and Google Ad Manager simply because we provide a hosted ad manager/server that also includes a branded, self-service interface for advertisers.

These are the real benefits that publishers are screaming for. Don’t you think?

http://www.trafficspaces.com

Stacey Higginbotham

Adam and David, you are both right. And now that I realize it’s not the standard, I will never ever use nonplussed in that way again. He’s unperturbed by the announcement, which I’ve now fixed. Thanks for keeping me comprehensible.

Adam

I’m confused. Bilefield is nonplussed — which means surprised and confused; is that how you meant it? — by his own argument?

Andy

A great use of OpenX is to have an independent accounting of impressions and click throughs for Google and other ad networks. With ad manager you’ll use Google (ad manager) to verify that Google (adsense) matches Google (analytics). You’ll also be feeding Google all your info about any other ad networks you’re using. x = eggs==>1 basket

Andrew

OpenX has advantages over a hosted solution – namely an Open API, which allows for customization. I don’t see anyone that is serving ad volume at a rate where they have resources to run there own server, not wanting to do so.

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