According to AllThingsD, AOL, Yahoo and Microsoft unveiled plans to take on Google by joining forces to sell each other’s ad inventory. The plan is to try a collective approach to battling Google and others.
The strategy is also designed to help them claw back some ad spending that has ended up in the hands of ad networks in recent years.
Executives from all three companies briefed a group of top Web publishers and ad buyers about the plan at a dinner presentation last night in Manhattan. AOL, Yahoo and Microsoft hope to convince big Web properties to share some of their ad inventory as well, and to get big ad holding companies to funnel some of their purchases through the consortium.
AllThingsD, cutely, uses an image of the Three Musketeers and even throws an “All for One!” into the article’s title. This would all be perfectly appropriate, except for one small details about the consortium.
Microsoft, Yahoo and AOL have agreed to sell each other’s “Class 2 display” inventory — graphic ads the companies can’t sell on their own and would normally hand over to ad networks.
In other words, the crap ads.
The ads that perform so badly or are so overpriced that neither Microsoft, Yahoo, or AOL can sell them directly–not even with their own skilled sales force. That’s like the Three Musketeers getting together and saying, “I need to keep my sharpest sword for my best fights, but I’m happy to pick up this rusted knife and give it a crack!”
These Class 2 ads are also referred to “remnant inventory.” You know the only other place that uses that term? Carpet stores. You can buy their remnant carpet for cheap, ‘cos it’s oddly shaped and they can’t sell it at full price. Yeah, that’s the way to grow a successful ad business!
What say you Pilgrims?