Tuesday, August 12, 2008

In Search of Billing Agreement

I’ve sat through one too many discussions about billing lately – specifically what numbers to use when determining how to bill for media. Recently I sat in a room quietly as a publisher waxed on about how agencies and clients don’t get it – that because pubs and ad servers count differently, the numbers will nevber jibe with one another. After awhile I had to say tsomething, and unfortunately I said it in a way that will all but ensure that that publisher will never be a client of C:SF. What I said was:

“You are missing the point. The question is, “Why do pubs count differently?” Target never decided to demand that a dollar be 102 cents, so why do publishers think that the way they count can differ from the way an ad server counts.”

The real issue, as I understand it, is that many pubs count ad views by the number of pages they load and ad calls those pages made, while servers count how many ad calls are answered in the form of a complete display.Hmm. As an advertiser, would I want to pay for impressions based upon how many…impressions the consumer saw, or how many a publisher requested, regardless of whether the consumer was “impressed.” As shocking as it may sound, it just isn’t a tough call for me. ;-)
It’s my understanding that the numbers in an ad server can differ from whether you use the advertiser product versus the publisher product, and that again this is related to calls versus deploys. That seems absurd to me. An advertiser deserves an unbiased third party count, just as does a publisher. No one should have to base their revenue or expense upon unverified internal numbers.

In this case, publishers just need to quit the whining and bill on the third party numbers. The difference in revenue will surely be more than counterbalanced by the time savings from the monthly bickering.

Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to write.

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