Rocket Fuel’s Frankel: Don’t Count Out Ad Nets

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Richard Frankel, founder and president of Rocket Fuel, is an industry veteran with more than 15 years of experience as an expert in behavioral targeting with companies such as DoubleClick and Yahoo. Frankel believes that although advertising networks appear to be dying, they are simply undergoing necessary change that is reshaping the entire industry.

Are ad networks dying?

The short answer that is quotable is, "Yes, ad networks are really dying." But that's not the real story, and the truth, as always, is more complicated. Digital advertising is going through a period of tremendous change. Not too shocking, as it's a young industry, and has never been very settled -- just when you think you understand it, everything flips upside down. I can remember not too long ago when search engines ran banner ads and Google didn't exist.

So, what's happening to ad networks? They aren't actually dying -- they're changing. And that change is a response to a changing market, changing technology, changing customer perceptions and requirements. My guess is that companies that call themselves ad networks will do more revenue in 2012 than in any previous year. If that's death, it's a pretty good one from a business sense. Change in the industry is being driven by new mechanisms for publishers to sell their inventory.

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