Microsoft, Yahoo, AOL Band Together for Display Ad Yard Sale

ads-4-sale-aol-yahoo-microsoftAn unlikely trio took a blood oath to join forces and take down the mighty Google, who snatched the display advertising crown from Yahoo in Q1 of this year. Executives from Microsoft, Yahoo and AOL shared the plan with a group of top Web publishers and ad buyers in a presentation over dinner a couple nights ago in Manhattan, All Things Digital reported.

The general idea is that they will come together to sell off more of their Class 2 display inventory by filling orders with whatever is kicking around within the consortium. Ideally, they’ll each benefit by having the others pawn off inventory they would otherwise have sent to ad networks. A second part of the plan is to convince large ad holding companies to join in the fun and drop their inventory in the pool, as well.

Is this going to be the big move that will help unseat, or at least slow down, Google or Facebook in a market with massive growth potential? Zenith Optimedia predicts display advertising will hit $25.27 billion this year, then climb another 36 percent to $34.4 billion in 2013.

Google and Facebook clearly have an edge; Google in their sheer size and their DoubleClick Ad Exchange, and Facebook in the social space. What value do Microsoft, Yahoo and AOL have to offer users by pooling together second-class ads – the ones classified that way because they couldn’t get rid of them to begin with?

ClickZ points to another potential concern: it’s not clear how each company will manage and protect ad data once sales and trafficking systems are integrated.

Google, meanwhile, today released new tools within the DoubleClick Ad Exchange and DoubleClick for Publishers, to help publishers maximize ad revenue. Publishers will be able to manage all currently running ads across all platforms from a single dashboard and compare channel data. The other new feature, Direct Deals on the DoubleClick Ad Exchange, allows publishers to offer ads to specific groups at a set rate before releasing them to the general auction.

Google’s announcement of advancing features in their established ad marketplace couldn’t have come at a worse time for the Microsoft, Yahoo, and AOL consortium; they haven’t even had time to set up their tables and cart the old wagons and toys out of the garage, yet. It’s just not fair.

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