Right Media Moves to Clean Up Exchange, Walrath Departs

walrath.jpg Yahoo is taking steps to clean up its Right Media ad exchange and reposition it as a premium ad marketplace, the company said yesterday.

Simultaneously, Right Media founder Mike Walrath (pictured, in IAB photo) is heading for the exit, almost three years after his company’s sale to Yahoo, The Wall Street Journal reported. Walrath is the foremost pioneer in the ad exchange business and one of the most respected technology executives at Yahoo.

The repositioning of Right Media is mainly about ensuring participants in the exchange are differentiated, according to Bill Wise, Yahoo’s VP and general manager of ad platforms.

That move will involve, most notably, removing some horizontal ad networks that contribute little value in the form of original data or exclusive inventory, while cluttering the exchange with questionable or duplicate inventory.

“It was always our goal to take the installed base of buyers, sellers, and overall marketplace liquidity and continue our maturation towards a more premium and differentiated offering,” Wise noted in a blog post late yesterday.

Wise added the company will also offer “demand-side platform capabilities,” in a clear appeal to agencies that are interested in creating in-house ad buying systems. ClickZ covered that trend in-depth last month.

Right Media is under rising pressure to bring more innovations to its exchange. In September, Google rolled out its long-anticipated DoubleClick Exchange with real-time bidding functionality. Real-time bidding features are seen as crucial to the evolution of exchange platforms, and they have not yet come to Right Media.

Even so, Right Media remains the 800 pound gorilla of the exchange ecosystem. It attracts more than 120,000 media buyers and sellers and hosts roughly 9 billion transactions every day, according to Yahoo.

Walrath’s exit comes as a blow to Yahoo. In addition to founding Right Media, Walrath is credited with forming the vision and strategy behind the company’s Apt display ad platform, which has not rolled out as quickly as Yahoo had originally promised.

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