CHAPTER 1

The Congested Online Ecosystem

The development of online advertising has been characterized by rapid growth, ingenious technological innovation, and restless entrepreneurialism that have spawned the proliferation of competing business models. But, novel technology and entrepreneurial initiative aside, the essence of the business, as with any other advertising medium, is to present a compellingly effective ad to the right person at the right time and place for a price that makes sense to the seller and potential buyer. For the principals, the advertisers and publishers, as Sam sang in Casablanca, “the fundamental things apply.”

Yet optimizing those fundamentals for a radically new digital medium has proved very complex. While, in less ...

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