AdBrite, which was originally founded by “FuckedCompany” legend Philip Kaplan aka “Pud” in 2002 has finally called it quits. Despite claiming to be the largest independent ad exchange and at one time being seen as a serious competitor to Google Adwords, it seems that they were unable to make enough money or sell the company to potential buyers. They are now positioning themselves to sell the assets and perhaps run away with as much cool AdBrite branded pens as possible.
The demise of AdBrite is indeed strange, because the growing marketplace of exchanges, real time bidding platforms still seems to be very hot right now, and anyone who has a technology that actually works seems to be able to not only find investors but easily find people to buy it. The idea that no one would want to buy the company, especially with almost no news about potential buyers is just weird to me.
As many people in the industry knew, AdBrite most likely exaggerated their position in the marketplace in the last few years more than just a little bit. While in 2008, Comscore listed them in the top 5 marketplaces, it was clear that as Comscore became more and more stringent about their rankings, that they were losing rankings fast. In fact, an August 2012 ComScore report didn’t even show it in the top 20 ad ecosystems. This probably was the nail in the coffin that they didn’t need.
An Insider basically pointed out to me that the AdBrite system was not only outdated, but the quality of the traffic was beyond horrendous. Despite claiming to be fully transparent, it seems that the company, desperate to make money was buying junk traffic and attempting to sell it at highly inflated prices. Other media buyers I spoke to told me that any buys they ever tried, ended up in being completely fraudulent and they didn’t believe that any of the traffic was going anywhere they claimed, and more often than not, going to other exchanges.
Is this a bad sign for other exchanges and marketplaces, or was AdBrite just doing it wrong? I’m curious what you think about AdBrite, and if there are other junk exchanges that will be going out of business?