The Rubicon Project is acquiring Fox Audience Network (FAN) to roll several of its technologies into its publisher-focused ad serving platform.
Rubicon Project CEO Frank Addante said that there was plenty of synergy in both technology and market vision between the two companies. FAN has unique display advertising assets, while the Rubicon Project's REVV platform is a display ad marketplace that provides yield optimization for more than 60 billion ad transactions each month.
"We had a vision to build a complete platform for display advertising that included everything from replacing the publisher's primary ad server to giving them optimization capabilities, operations services for billing and payment, audience analytics and targeting, brand protection and security, and self-service technology," Addante told ClickZ.
The technology it's buying from News Corp. includes the MyAds self-service ad-buying platform built for MySpace, FAN's SDC publisher ad server, technology for targeting, and audience analytics and real-time bidding algorithms.
Some FAN technology will be immediately available to publishers using REVV; the rest of it will become available when Rubicon launches the complete platform, expected in April. That platform will include a Web portal for automating the buying process, real-time bidding, and access to ad exchanges.
Rubicon will retain more than 100 FAN technology employees but none of the ad sales staff.
Rajeev Goel, CEO of Rubicon competitor PubMatic, told ClickZ that he estimates it will take nine to 12 months for Rubicon to integrate the FAN technology. "Innovation happens at a rapid rate and in a quick cycle. If you spend 12 months integrating rather than building new feature features sets, publishers will bear the brunt," he said.
Addante said he's confident that the complete platform, integrating FAN's technology, will become available to publishers in April 2010, thanks in part to the engineering staff that's coming along with the acquisition, as well as the technical leadership of John Carnahan, who will become Rubicon CTO. Carnahan was CTO and EVP of product, technology, and operations at FAN, as well as lead developer at Yahoo Research.
According to Addante, publishers using the new platform will make more money and save time by reducing operational costs. They'll also enjoy brand protection, because the system will automatically eliminate channel conflict, protect against data leakage, and block malware.
An additional benefit, he said, is, "It's an independent platform. The ad servers they're running on today are now owned by their biggest competitors. We don't sell directly to ad network operators and we don't operate consumer portals."
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Susan Kuchinskas has covered interactive advertising since its invention. The former staff writer for Adweek, Business 2.0, and M-Business covers technology, business and culture from Berkeley, CA.
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