Web publishers have a long, tangled history with ad networks. Many newspapers and magazines rely on them to sell off unsold advertising online, but at the same time, they resent the networks for dragging down the value of their overall inventory.
Today in the Wall Street Journal, the ad network slamming continues. In an article about a new study by the Online Publishers Association, the paper subheads their story with the following: “Proprietary Content Is Better Channel Than Portals or ‘Ad Networks’.”
The implication is that advertisers are better off buying online ads through publishers than through those lowly ad networks. It may be in the best interest of publishers (like the Wall Street Journal) to slam networks and encourage advertisers to purchase their ads directly. But it isn’t an either or situation. Publishers are giving ad networks inventory they can’t sell on their own. These “remnant” ads are by default cheaper ad content. And smart advertisers are buying both.