Over the past few years, a number of major publishers have sworn off remnant ad networks, often citing the lack of transparency and fear of driving down premium prices as the reason for their avoidance. But as a Mediaweek piece shows, online pubs like WSJ.com, Bloomberg.com and TheStreet.com, which all claim to withhold inventory from ad nets, are claiming that interCLICK — which bills itself as the “transparent ad network” — is selling space on their sites without authorization. InterCLICK, however, sees it differently.
According to interCLICK, it is able to sell inventory on those sites because the publishers make their inventory available through ad optimizers like The Rubicon Project and AdMeld or through Google (NSDQ: GOOG) DoubleClick’s display sales platform. InterCLICK then buys the ad space from the optimizers and resells it. In the case of the WSJ.com’s inventory, interCLICK says it initially accessed it through the DoubleClick exchange.
While that seems like a loophole, publishers insist that there shouldn’t be one. Some pubs accuse interCLICK and its peers of falsifying reports designed to obscure unauthorized ad buys that have been made on those sites. Some of the ad nets, like Undertone and Tribal Fusion say that sometimes “mistakes” slip through their respective systems and some inventory from TheStreet.com (NSDQ: TSCM) was inadvertently sold.
In addition to issuing a stream of cease and desist orders, publishers are now pushing for wider use of third party auditors and ad delivery monitors, like DoubleVerify and AdSafe. Mediaweek adds that interCLICK just happened to start working with both those systems.