Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

How to Find Google's Next Ad Tech Acquisition

Earlier this year, Google spent $81 million to buy Invite Media, an ad tech start-up. There’s a very good chance that won’t be the last ad tech start-up the search giant buys, and if you want to get a sense of what it might grab next, take a look at this chart. It’s a crazily comprehensive map of the display ad technology ecosystem, compiled by investment banker Terry Kawaja (click on image to enlarge; you can get an even bigger version via

The two big takeaways here:

  • The sheer density of all the players on this chart gives you a sense of how frothy the market is, and how much consolidation we’re going to see in the near future. That’s exciting for both venture capitalists, who are still pouring money into the sector, and bankers like Kawaja.
  • The sheer density of all the players on this chart gives you a sense of how new the market is: Display advertising has been around on the Web for a very long time, but it’s been overshadowed by the search market for the past decade or so. Blame Google (GOOG). But now that Google itself is concentrating on display (see its ad campaign on this site and many other places), that’s changing. Now we need to see just how any of these companies are going to stick around for the long haul.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work