Peter Kafka

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Sales Talks Fell Through, So Ad Exchange AdBrite Shuts Down

Hardeep BindraAdvertising exchange AdBrite is shutting down, after an attempt to find a buyer for the company failed.

CEO Hardeep Bindra is telling partners that the company, which has 26 employees, will close by the end of the month, and is selling off its assets. In an interview, Bindra says he had been trying to sell off the entire company, but sales talks “unfortunately fell through a couple weeks ago.”

AdBrite raised a reported $40 million since 2004, much of it from Sequoia Capital. It was best known for many years as the creation of Philip Kaplan, who had achieved notoriety during the end of the Web 1.0 boom for his FuckedCompany site. For years the company described itself as the “largest independent ad exchange, rivaling Google and Yahoo.”

But that kind of designation doesn’t mean a whole lot right now, and the ad exchange market is dominated by a handful of large players (you can also add newcomer AppNexus to the mix, as well as Facebook’s newly hatched FBX). Bindra, who joined AdBrite last April after working on Yahoo’s ad exchange, says his marching orders at the time were to set the company up for a sale.

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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