Everybody Wants Into The Ad Auction Game

from the some-hurdles-to-face dept

Everyone wants to be like Google, it seems. Of course, with the money they’re bringing in these days, perhaps that’s not too surprising. Time Warner Cable is apparently trying to set up their own Google-like ad auction system for companies looking to buy TV commercial air time on their system. Of course, they’ll have to fight Google in this market, as the search advertising company has already made it clear that it intends to sell TV advertising (along with newspaper, magazine, radio and (don’t forget) internet ads). There are also some startups trying to get into the space as well. As we noted earlier this year when one such startup, SpotRunner, was launched there are actually a lot of different elements that go into making an ad auction system successful. Google didn’t even pioneer the concept of the ad auction — they just made it easier to use and brought a big enough audience to make the economics work. Time Warner Cable does have a major advantage in knowing what people are watching — allowing them to better target “personalized” ads. However, despite years of hype and promises, personalized TV ads haven’t really caught on — in part because it creeps people out to have their ads personalized so much. Also, of course, there’s the issue that TV commercials may not be long for this world. Finally, even if Time Warner Cable does make a go of this, they’re going to face patent lawsuits. Perhaps they shouldn’t have been so open in crediting Google for being the inspiration for an auction based advertising system. Google had to fork over a hefty chunk of stock to Yahoo to settle a big patent lawsuit concerning Overture’s patents for online advertising auction systems. Admitting that Time Warner is simply copying the system may wake up some patent lawyers somewhere.

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