Google Gets Into Ad Optimization, Takes On Rubicon Project

In what might be some new competition for Santa Monica-based Rubicon Project, the high profile ad optimization firm headed by Frank Addante, search engine giant Google told its publishers late Wednesday that it will begin to offer similar capabilities in its AdSense program. Google said it will open its door to third party advertising networks, allowing the ads in those networks to compete with AdWords advertisers for ad space on publishers. Google said it will be certifying those networks, and will be rolling out the new service over the next few weeks. Rubicon Project similarly offers its ad optimization service to publishers, picking the advertising networks which will provide the greatest revenue to the publisher, and also certifying higher quality ad networks for inclusion on sites. Does Rubicon see Google entree into the market as competition? "It's not an immediate threat for us," says JT Batson, VP of Publisher at Rubicon, who shared his thoughts on the move by Google Wednesday afternoon with socalTECH. Batson explained that the firm's customers are big publishers, who typically don't use AdSense. "Very few use AdSense, and those that do use it in a limited way," he explained. Batson also said that he did not think that the biggest ad networks in the business--Microsoft, Yahoo, and AOL--would ever plug into the Google program. Batson's conclusion on how serious a threat the move by Google is to its business? "In terms of anything immediate, I'm not going to be losing any sleep over this tonight."