Google is on the verge of publicly launching its long-anticipated ad exchange, ClickZ has learned.
The display ad marketplace was developed within the company's DoubleClick unit, and has been used on an invitation basis by numerous publishers, agencies, and advertisers -- all bound by non-disclosure agreements.
Now, according to a source with knowledge of Google's plans, the company is about to fling open the doors to all buyers and sellers. The launch is expected by the end of the month, and could be timed to coincide with Advertising Week in New York, to be held the week of September 21.
Google would not confirm or deny the launch, saying it doesn't comment on rumors.
DoubleClick's ad exchange is a display ad marketplace that allows publishers and ad networks to float unsold and "undervalued" inventory in a pool to be bid upon by advertisers. Sellers are guaranteed their impressions will be sold for the highest bid price above the specified reserve. Meanwhile, buyers can use the exchange to supplement their online campaigns with low cost impressions -- often scooping up a high volume of inventory at bargain rates.
For years Yahoo's Right Media Exchange has been the de facto leader in the exchange market. With its public launch, some expect the DoubleClick platform to become the standard.
One crucial feature of the exchange for many ad buyers will be its ability to accept ad serving products other than DoubleClick's Dart for Advertisers (DFA), according to the source. For many agencies and advertisers, the expected requirement to use DFA has been a strike against the DoubleClick product -- and a reason they expected to stick to Right Media.
"If [advertisers] can use their own technology, they have an advantage," said the source.
It's not clear how much inventory will be available through the exchange when it launches publicly. In theory, Google could rapidly increase the volume of impressions with direct appeals to the hundreds of thousands of publishers using its Dart for Publishers and AdSense products.
The anticipated public launch follows the departure of Michael Rubenstein, previously the head of buy-side sales in North America for the DoubleClick ad exchange. The company has yet to name a replacement for Rubenstein, who took a position as president of AppNexus, a company that provides infrastructure support for ad networks, data exchanges, and ad exchanges.
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Until March 2012, Zach Rodgers was managing editor of ClickZ's award-winning coverage of news and trends in digital marketing. He reported on the rise of web companies, data markets, ad technologies, and government Internet policy, among other subjects.
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