The native advertising programmatic gold rush is on.
Following the emergence of a handful of native ad networks came yesterday's announcement that the startup TripleLift was launching a native ad exchange with several top brands and publishers. Now comes another native ad exchange—albeit this one from perhaps an unexpected source.
The new company, Bidtellect, is coming out of Domain Holdings, a top domain name broker. The company has tapped veteran digital media entrepreneur Lon Otremba as its CEO. (Otremba previously ran the social gaming firm Tylted).
Bidtellect is the brainchild of John Ferber, who along with his brother Scott co-founded Advertising.com in 2004.
Otremba and Ferber said they've built a new tech platform that can help brands buy native ads in an automated fashion, at scale. That contradicts much of the conventional wisdom surrounding native ads, which depending on your definition could include branded entertainment videos, advertisers tweets or custom produced pseudo articles—things that are seemingly hard to buy in bulk.
"Based on the history of this business, when a medium can rapidly scale is only when advertisers can buy that way. That’s when things really take off," said Otremba, who argued that most existing solutions have focused on publishers, not brands.
Otremba claims to have signed up several big brands and publishers to test Bidtellect. The company just won't say who. It has started testing its version of native ads on generic domains it owns.
That points to an obvious question—whether a native ad solution will come from the world of domain selling, particularly given its direct response heritage. Otremba said he envisions both brand dollars and performance revenue coming to native.
"We are lining up a strong offering," said Ferber. "Even on our domains, the ads fit the form and function of the way users are experiencing it." And if brands have doubts, he said, "I can also say I created Ad.com when I was 23."