Digital ad gatekeeper DoubleClick plans to open an online exchange for publishers and advertisers that'll make it as easy to sell online ads as it is to sell goods on eBay.
When the Exchange goes live in the third quarter, publishers and other sellers will be able to make specific inventory available for purchase and define a minimum bid value for it while specifying rules to restrict certain advertisers, formats and content.
Industry sources familiar with the matter told internetnews.com that the announcement was a clever way for DoubleClick to increase its value while Google and Microsoft bid near $2 billion to buy the company. He said the announcement might be meant to justify such high bids for a company that many believe brought in only "around $60 million" in earnings before interest, taxes, debt and amortization.
Neither Google nor Microsoft returned requests for comment.
A DoubleClick spokeswoman told internetnews.com she could not comment on rumors and speculation.
The exchange will allow buyers to specify the inventory they wish to purchase and then control their bid price so it's automatically adjusted in line with performance.
The company said it would provide a single billing and payment point for all transactions and plans to eventually support emerging technologies, such as video, in-game and future forms of digital advertising. The new exchange will be fully integrated with DoubleClick's DART ad management platform, the company said.
DoubleClick product manager Scott Spencer told internetnews.com the company will share revenue with publishers.
The DoubleClick Advertising Exchange is currently in a limited beta with a select group of buyers and sellers in the United States, but the company said it expects the exchange to be available globally by the end of the year.
The exchange will not be the first marketplace of its kind. And if Google or Microsoft buy the company, they will not be the first of the big three search engines to make a major investment in such a marketplace.
Last October, Yahoo took a 20 percent stake in Right Media, creator of the Right Media Exchange, an online exchange for publishers and advertisers.
Right Media CEO Michael Walrayth told internetnews.com his company has been prepared to see DoubleClick join the field for the last six to nine months and that he's glad to see the day arrive.
"I think it's great for us. We pioneered this space, and so to have DoubleClick, Microsoft and Google saying this is an area of interest is a lot of validation for what we do," Walrayth said.
He said he's confident Right Media can continue to lead while others join, pointing out that its exchange trades over 150 billion impressions a month and expects to trade over $500 million of media in 2007.
"When people say, 'How are you going to deal with this threat?' we tend to think, 'How are they going to deal with us?'"
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