Ringleader Sells Ad Network, Commits to Mobile Ad Management

Mobile ad firm Ringleader Digital is selling its ad network to focus on its ad management business.

Though it claims its ad network business was healthy, Ringleader is more committed to technology. Its mobile ad management tools include Spark Server, an ad server; Real Time, a reporting system publishers and advertisers can use to identify device types and carrier information; a unique user identification system called Media Stamp; and functions such as optimization and ad trafficking.

“They’ve always been focused on technology,” said Vikrant Gandhi, industry analyst at Frost & Sullivan. “There were several challenges they were trying to address, from platform [development], working with publishers, and going out to sell the ads.”

Ultimately Ringleader hopes to tackle third-party ad serving and verification for the mobile space. There has been demand from ad agencies and advertisers for an intermediary to serve and report on ads. OMD was the first agency to ask mobile publishers to verify display advertising. To offer services including third-party verification to other ad networks, Ringleader needs to be free of its own ad network. To operate on both sides of the business would represent a conflict of interest.

“There was a huge evolution in DoubleClick’s history when they came to the same conclusion we did, and decided to offer a standalone product,” said Bob Walczak, CEO of Ringleader Digital. The company sees growing mobile use and demand in the marketplace for an independent ad management platform.

Ringleader sold its ad network to Kristine Latronica, its former VP of sales. She plans to run it under a new company, Access Mobile Advertising, which will become Ringleader’s first ad network client. Ringleader will also retain some accounts where it had existing technology licenses.

“We are in the consolidation stage,” Frost & Sullivan’s Gandhi said of the mobile ad network space. “Companies are being acquired or trying to scale back and focus on competency. We are in some consolidation because of the economic environment.”

Related reading