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Gawker’s Ad Exchange U-Turn: Blog Empire is introducing private marketplace


What: Gawker Media is introducing a private ad exchange.
Why it matters: Gawker, particularly its Founder Nick Denton,  has been playing down the ad-tech game for many years. Gawker’s U-Turn with the decision to introduce a private ad exchange highlights the trend of many major publishers creating ad-exchanges and adopting the latest advertising technologies.

Nick Denton, CEO and Founder, Gawker Media
Nick Denton, CEO and Founder, Gawker Media

Gawker, the New York City based online media company and blog network is working on a private ad exchange to complement the efforts of its sales staff.  Gawker Founder and CEO Nick Denton has been frequently cited for his disregard for ad networks and advertising technology. “We threw out the ad networks more than half a decade ago,” Denton told Portada in an interview earlier this year. “They cannibalize direct sales and condemn a publisher to existence on the economic margins”, he added. While Gawker now is not embracing Ad-Networks it is clearly warming up to modern advertising technology system. Digiday reports, that Gawker has quietly opened up a private marketplace of its own in recent weeks as part of what it calls a “strategy shift.” Previously, Gawker said advertisers could only buy inventory directly from one of its salespeople. Select clients will now be able to bid for impressions on the site on a real-time basis, using demand-side platforms and agency trading desks.“It’s rather a big step for us after years of playing down the ad tech game,” admitted Gawker Media’s business development lead, Erin Pettigrew. The decision was driven by a need “to keep pace with the fast-automating display buying market,” she explained.

The company’s sales strategy is now to have its salespeople focused on selling its custom programs through its Studio@Gawker unit, and to let technology handle the selling of its standardized display inventory.“We expect our advertising to bifurcate between the branded content produced by Studio@Gawker that we sell directly and efficient, targeted display media sold via a private exchange,” Pettigrew said.

Not the first Media property to shift gears

Earlier this year, Turner said it refused to sell through exchanges but last month it opened a private exchange in partnership with Rubicon. News Corp is working on a global private exchange and so are many other major players. The main reason behind this activity is that media buyers are becoming less interested in dealing with salespeople and faxing insertion orders, and want technology to do the heavy lifting.

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