24/7 Execs Respond to Glitches in AdForce Transition

Executives from ad network, server and online marketer 24/7 Media Monday rushed to explain away reports that the company has experienced problems in its reporting system.

The problems, which involve both client access to reports and the statistics themselves, come at a fairly crucial time for 24/7. The company recently finished transitioning its domestic publishers to its 24/7 Connect serving solution last month, and is working to do the same for its overseas publishers in the next several months.

Previously, the company had served ads using technology provided by CMGI-owned competitor AdForce.

Last Monday, 24/7 Connect general manager Vivienne Dacey sent an email to publishers acknowledging several months of “inadequate reporting” problems and indicating that the company was working toward a solution in the next several weeks.

But chief financial officer Andy Johns admitted that sending the email might have proved hasty — since the fixes were actually in place at the time.

“We had known there were reporting improvements that were looking to be installed,” he said. “But unfortunately, notice went out to affiliates the same time upgrade was being installed.”

Dacey’s email addressed two essential problems. First, report generation either timed out or failed altogether due to network connectivity, server load and database access problems.

“As we transitioned them onto Connect, they [publishers] could not access as quickly as they wanted to,” Johns said.

Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, the reporting program occasionally displayed inaccurate figures. According to 24/7, when a report was run, then rerun at a later date, statistics for the same period increased.

“This stems from having data from the previous day not make the cutoff for movement to our reporting data marts. This data is then picked up and added to the previous day at the next run,” Dacey said in the email.

One 24/7 Connect client that had been transitioned off of AdForce said he had encountered some of the difficulties accessing reports.

“I did notice problems,” said Michael Morse, advertising manager for RandMcNally.com. “For about 24-36 hours in a row there, there were some problems that I hadn’t seen.”

“As for data being different a second time, we never noticed a problem like that,” he added.

24/7 officials played down the quirks in reporting.

“We don’t even think it’s a glitch. It’s a process of technical development,” Johns said. “I won’t say it’s much ado about nothing, but it’s close to that.”

Company executives were also quick to add that despite the inaccurate reporting figures, internal data and records remain uncorrupted.

“There’s never, ever been any data integrity issues,” 24/7 chief executive officer David Moore said. “We had some problems with the accessibility of reports, not the data quality or anything like that. Just the accessibility.”

Johns added that overall, 24/7’s publishers have been understanding of the ongoing changes and issues with the serving platform change.

“The affiliates effectively have known what’s been going on in the system,” Johns said. “We all work together to get the system refined and polished, and there weren’t any problems that I’m aware of with affiliates over this issue.”

Despite the glitches, Morse said he is content to remain with 24/7 Connect, calling the system “a much easier piece of software to access and to work within. We’ve been with them since April, and we’ve been extremely happy with them.”

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