Peter Kafka

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Another Ad Exchange Boss Leaves: Jeff Green Out at Microsoft’s AdECN

jeff greenAd exchanges–giant, automated markets for online advertising buyers and sellers–are supposed to be a huge deal. So why doesn’t anyone want to run them anymore?

Last month, Google (GOOG) lost Michael Rubenstein, the head of its ad exchange, shortly before the ad giant formally rolled out the service to the public. Now Jeff Green, the top guy at Microsoft’s AdECN exchange, is out as well.

In an email memo, Green says today is his last day working for Microsoft (MSFT), which bought his company a little more than two years ago; he doesn’t mention what he’s doing next. Green’s old boss, former AdECN CEO William Urschel, left Microsoft earlier this summer.

One big difference between Green’s departure and Rubenstein’s move, which saw him land at AppNexus, a quasi-stealth ad tech startup: Rubenstein left a few weeks before his ad exchange launched, to much hoopla. But Microsoft hasn’t said much about its exchange product for quite some time, and ad industry insiders believe the product is stalled in Redmond.

I’ve reached out to Green for more info and will update if I hear back. Here’s the text of his goodbye message:

From: Jeff Green
Date: October 6, 2009 9:52:24 AM PDT
Subject: Thank you

Dear Friends & Colleagues –
As you may know, today is my last day with MSFT/AdECN.
I can’t believe how far we have come in such a short time. Though nearly 5 years ago, it seems like yesterday we started AdECN as pioneers in the exchange space. Using an auction for every impression, we debated whether to build an ad network or an exchange. We opted to build an exchange because there were hundreds of ad networks but there were zero exchanges.  We launched in London with our mantra of neutrality and with great partners despite some of the ad network objections:
“The world doesn’t need an ad exchange. It needs our network.”
“If you succeed, you threaten our business. We hope you fail.”
“You’ll make online advertising a bloody complicated mess and then go bask in the f*&$in sun while I’m still doing this ad sh^$.”
It was quite a testament to the model that momentum grew so quickly.  It is amazing to look at the exchange landscape now and see so many companies built on or around the exchange model. It has been great to see how much things have moved even in the short time that we’ve been preparing for our federated pilot this fall. Microsoft continues to make the exchange a central part of its strategy. Similarly, Google’s Eric Schmidt recently declared the exchange was Google’s top priority. Growing transparency and buyer/seller control is great for the industry. The market has evolved so far so fast.
The true exchanges will always be more of a referee than a player–since they are in the business of creating a fair market. As I look across the playing field, I see massive amounts of opportunity and I look forward to playing in the ad game in the next chapter.
Anyway, I primarily write this email because I want to say thank you. This chapter has been one of the most exciting of my life. AdECN never could have grown like it has without great employees, great partners, great clients, and a great parent company–Microsoft. I sincerely thank you for your partnership—and in many cases, friendship.
For Microsoft’s AdECN/TPAN/reseller matters going forward. Please contact the following:
Jed Nahum (EMAIL REDACTED) The manager of the TPAN team going forward and is very acquainted with the exchange.
David Coburn (EMAIL REDACTED) The manager of the AdECN product team and the AdECN Biz Dev team for at least the interim.
Ben Mottau (EMAIL REDACTED) manages all ad broker/buy-side partnerships for AdECN.
Jason Shue (EMAIL REDACTED) manages all pub broker/sell-side partnerships for AdECN.

I would very much like to keep in touch. Linked in and my cell phone is the best way going forward: and XXX.XXX.XXXX.

Best wishes.

Until next time,

Jeff Green

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