The Rubicon Project wants to help online publishers take better control of how and who sells their ad inventory.
The Los Angeles-based company, one of a handful of firms to emerge over the past few years that specialize in tools for managing multiple sales channels, has released a new technology platform called Permission Control 2.0. That service is designed to help publishers set parameters for any and all partners they may work with during the ad sales process, including ad networks, exchanges and demand-side platforms via a central Web-based dashboard.
For example, a publisher can set rules for how various ad networks represent their inventory -- by allowing it to be sold transparently, semi-transparently, or only blindly -- through just a few mouse clicks. Publishers can also set pricing limitations for individual networks and exchanges, or make rules that apply across the board with all partners.
Besides providing a greater semblance of control, Rubicon is touting the new platform's ability to provide more visibility to publishers, allowing them to identify just how particular ads end up on their sites. The tool allows a user to pull a simple report displaying every single advertiser and each third party that is running inventory on a particular site at a given moment -- a list that can run into the hundreds.
According to Rubicon COO Craig Roah, the drive behind these tools is to help publishers protect pricing -- particularly for display advertising -- which has taken a hit over the past year due to an abundance of inventory and a proliferation of intermediaries in the sales process.
"The market currently lacks rules around transactions between publishers, demand partners and their advertisers," he said. "This lack of clarity around the rules of engagement has led to price erosion, data leakage and channel conflict within the market. ... We are committed to providing publishers with transparent, efficient and safe access to all sources of demand to best monetize their ad inventory."