Notice: This blog is no longer updated. You may find a broken link or two

You can follow my new adventures @mikeonwine

Just browsing around the web today I noticed that the amount of quality ads seems to have disappeared overnight as we rolled into Q2 of 2009. I first noticed it on the New York Times — a house ad popped up on my second page view and the technology page was showing ads for Vonage — a traditional CPA/remant buyer.

So off I went to Yahoo — which has two serving systems, one for Class-I (premium/guaranteed) and the Right Media Exchange for Class-II (remnant) making it particularly easy to figure out which placements are sold premium or remnant. Of the various sites (news, mail, finance, movies, weather) only *one* showed me a Class-I advertisement, which implies that not too many guaranteed deals are flowing through sunnyvale (PS, RM folks, I’m getting 504 errors on your tags, see screenshot here). is showing Netflix on the first page view of the homepage, as far as i know they only buy on a CPA. Second page view went to “” — doubtful that’s guaranteed. is showing ads for IE8 — presumably an internal house-ad campaign.

This doesn’t look good — Q2 is going to be painful across the board… or maybe it’s all one big April Fools joke?

Related Posts:

  • Brian O’Kelley

    I think GOOG is hurting too. The ads they’re showing on your blog by this post are atrocious… Catheters for Men? Wait, I think that’s actually relevant for me. But the other ones are just frickin crap – wrinkle cream? weight loss? “Local Bisexuals Women for Dating”???

    On another note how come Google gets away with crappy ads like that – if they were traditional display units these would be BANNED.


  • Joe Fredericks

    Thanks for this insight and agree that this is not a good sign, but I still am a contrarian about the full year – it’s going to get better and this is all a big over-reaction.

    Just bought a new catheter, fyi. Thx.

  • Ad Exchange News Links for Wednesday, April 1

    [...] took a stab at this year’s media numbers – read about it in the Guardian. Anybody else wanna guess? Mike On Ads notes that Q2 isn’t looking too good if today’s ads on top publisher sites is any [...]

  • SImon

    Totally disagree – I’m running a site that generates over $3K a day from adsense ads and Q2 is stronger than ever in terms of CPM.
    It’s a dangerous business analyzing things based on a simplified sample…

  • segrant

    I think NYTimes works with Halogen – a luxury display ad network. From time to time, you see nice ads for The Plaza.

    But yes – I’m seeing Vonage ads everywhere. From a publisher’s perspective, yes, ad revenue is evaporating. From a user’s perspective, it’s tiresome. I already belong to Netflix, and I’m not changing my cell service. Where are the interesting ads? And why don’t advertisers use this opportunity to be different and take advantage of their audiences?

  • Dan

    For me this is fairly typical and occurs on the the 1st of the month too but amplifies on the first day of a quarter as it’s both a month and quarter beginning.

    The cause? Late creatives – ads are scheduled by the publisher to end on the 30th/31st but while there are rebookings signed off the creative agency or bootlenecks in the trafficking department mean it takes a while for ads to reach the publishers.

    However, while I agree the sample size here is not representative, I think you’ll find the big names hurting more as the agencies are being forced to look at the media plans and find savings – in many cases these can come from the portals who charge a premium for being MSN, Yahoo etc but not provide much if any performance boost over some networks or exchanges (especially when you consider the post impression conversion loophole that Yahoo Mail and Hotmail exploit).