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Last Week In Adops #01

a weekly email mocking the bullshit that is the adtech industry. sent out every friday so you have something to do while drinking that first beer/coffee (I don’t judge).

Welcome to the first edition of the updated Last Week In Adops newsletter. Thanks Dan Layfield for letting me steal your name and format.

I hope you enjoy. Feel free to send me feedback.


The Guardian is suing ad tech company Rubicon Project
The Guardian is preparing to sue Rubicon because it claims Rubicon took fees (from the buy side) which it did not disclose in it’s contract with The Guardian.


Heavy losses feared as The Guardian forecasts it‘ll burn £90m this year
The Guardian is planning to lose ~$100MM this year in cash after losses of around $250MM last year. They’re making some pretty drastic cuts in people, office space, and operations. All is not lost however as they are funded by a trust who still has over $900MM in the bank.

My Take

Out of context the news that a big publisher was suing Rubicon seemed like a sign of the times for the dumpster fire that has become Rubicon. But this to me smells more like a desperate move by The Guardian’s executives, one of those “if you don’t like the conversation, change the topic” type moves. Regardless it’ll be interesting to see what (if anything) we can glean from the case on how this particular SSP makes their margins.

Other Articles


Online Advertising Is Corrupt At Its Core
@adcontrarian (Bob Hoffman) submits what has become his running thesis. That online advertising is rotten at it’s core. That it’s all about duping the users and the marketers that spend on it

Ryan’s take: we get it Bob, you don’t like adtech. But this is a little heavy handed even for you. “There is decay, corruption and deceit now sitting at the heart of online advertising.🙄🙄 . The power of christ compels me, I guess.

Chase Had Ads on 400,000 Sites. Then on Just 5,000. Same Results. 
Until recently ads for Chase were showing up on 400k sites a month. Ever since the brouhaha around ads next to terrible Youtube content and fake news and the like Chase decided to audit those sites. It took only the 12k where people interacted with the ads and… and I’m not making this part up… made an intern click on and categorize all 12,000 of those links. In the end they found that only 5k of those sites were “brand safe” enough for them. In the weeks that followed their KPIs didn’t drop.

You don’t fucking say? The real news here is that in 2017 Chase still wasn’t running any sort of whitelist on its programmatic selling (or auditing it in any way). One other nit from me… in 2017 and they’re still using the click the determine site worth. When will we get past this? Also that intern deserves a fucking medal.

Google Ramps Up Header Bidding Alternative as Pressure Mounts
Google is looking to release an open beta of EBDA (with more partners) around May sometime.

Oh so all it takes to get Google to finally move it’s ass on something is a $400B gorilla invading it’s territory. And I’m sure they’re going to become so much “more transparent”.

Scoop: BuzzFeed going public in 2018
Buzzfeed is considering going public in 2018.

Ehh we’ll see. 2018 is a long way away. But maybe they’re trying to cash in on the $SNAP effect. Another interesting tidbit is that Quartz may be looking to sell after making a $1MM profit last year on $30MM in revenue. Not too shabby. Also, Axios is a great new pub. Check them out.

Facebook Is Testing Related Article Ads in Instant Articles
Facebook is testing related content ads (think, Taboola and Outbrain).

This is a low-key BFD. Facebook actually has the reach and data to properly personalize the related content field without resorting to the shady / gross ads most of us are familiar with.

House Sends Bill to Trump Blocking Online Privacy Regulation
I’m sure you’ve heard this by now but congress has blocked an Obama regulation that would have prevented ISPs from tracking and selling your browsing data.

Honestly I have no idea what this means or what will happen from it. It’s all above my pay grade but it feels important enough to have added here.

The Deck Ad Network Shuts Down
Longtime ad network and a minor celeb in the startup and web design blog world (daring fireball, signal v noise, and a list apart are founding members), The Deck, officially shut down this week.

Most won’t notice it but the simplicity and subtlety of it will absolutely be missed by your lowly author.

Shameless Self Promotion

What Happens In Adops Podcast Episode 03 // Ari Paparo (Beeswax)
Ari really gets into some interesting territory in this week’s episode. He talks about how he believes some exchanges screw with the auction mechanics. What value (if any) there is in publisher data. And why you shouldn’t charge people more money for their snickers bar.

This Week’s Gif I Can’t Think Of A Caption

Please god help me think of a way to use this beauty.

Thanks for reading and have a great week! Or don’t. I’m not the boss of you.

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