Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

The Facebook Ad Exchange Is So Big You Can’t Talk About It

Facebook’s new ad exchange is a big deal for the ad tech business. It’s an especially big deal for the eight companies Facebook has tapped to work on an early version of the product, which is supposed to let ad buyers bid on Facebook’s inventory in “real time.”

Which is why none of them will talk about it to the press. They’re terrified that if they do, Facebook will kick them out of the club — which is what many people in ad tech believe has already happened to two of them.

The story I’m hearing, from people who aren’t supposed to tell me about it: After news of the Facebook Exchange leaked to the press last week, Facebook came clean and announced its list of preliminary partners (TellApart, Triggit, TurnDataXu, MediaMath, AppNexus, The Trade Desk and AdRoll). And then it told all of them not to talk to the press, or they’d be cut off.

Who got the boot? Well, nailing that one down is a bit tricky, since no one’s supposed to talk about it. And if those two companies want back into the club, they’re certainly not going to say anything.

But if you had to bet, the most likely wager would be on DataXu and MediaMath. That’s because the CEOs of both companies published bylined pieces about Facebook Exchange in Forbes and AdAge, respectively, within a couple of days of the initial announcement.

Hard to see how there’s anything in either piece that Facebook would find objectionable, since they’re both (unsurprisingly) overwhelmingly positive about the program.

But if Facebook’s point is that the only company talking about Facebook’s ad program should be Facebook, then you could guess that Facebook wouldn’t be happy about either piece.

And if you’re looking for Facebook to clear this up, then I would like to offer you some shares in the upcoming Brooklyn Bridge IPO.

DataXu and MediaMath “are still on our list of partners,” says Facebook rep Brandon McCormick, via email. “We aren’t commenting on timing for any specific partners.”

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— Valleywag editor Sam Biddle