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Google Revamps DoubleClick, Puts Own Name On It

Two Years After Acquisition, Search Giant Puts Its Stamp on World's Largest Ad Server

By Published on . 2

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Google is rolling out a long-delayed upgrade to DoubleClick's core ad-serving technology -- the world's largest -- which places billions of ad impressions on thousands of sites each day.

The new ad server does away with two legacy products, DoubleClick's DART for Publishers and Google Ad Manager, which will both be integrated and replaced by the rebuilt and re-branded DoubleClick for Publishers.

Google is also more closely associating its own brand with DoubleClick's ad-serving technology by retiring the "DART" brand and adding "by Google" to DoubleClick's logos.

"It certainly does represent a significant milestone in the integration of Google and DoubleClick," said Neal Mohan, Google's VP-product management. "We've had hundreds of engineers working on this for the last few years."

It's the biggest new product for DoubleClick since Google closed on the acquisition of the company in 2008, but its not the first. Last fall, Google re-launched DoubleClick's ad exchange, putting it in direct competition with big exchanges at Yahoo and Microsoft. This is also Google's latest effort to integrate all of its ad products and technologies and platforms into a more cohesive (and lucrative) unit.

DoubleClick's ad-serving technology hadn't been upgraded for years at the time of Google's acquisition, and over time it had been leapfrogged in the market by more sophisticated systems. Because its tools for publishers were limited, a crop of companies such as Rubicon Project, PubMatic and AdMeld sprouted up to mediate the relationship between websites and ad networks.

But with the new version, Google is offering publishers several enhancements to help keep their dominant position in ad serving. First, the integration of Google Ad Manager means publishers can control how much ad inventory they sell on their own and how much the fill with Google AdSense or Google's ad exchange.

Secondly, they're opening up the ad server's API, meaning that other ad-serving technologies that publishers use will be able to more easily communicate with DoubleClick, giving publishers more options for technologies to manage and optimize their ads.

As Mr. Mohan explained in a blog post about the changes, the mechanics of online advertising are still beset with inefficiencies. "Managing ad space can involve faxes, e-mailed orders, the manual scheduling of different ad campaigns across multiple sites and difficult decisions about how to allocate ad space most effectively," he wrote.

The upgrades will roll out to publishers over the next year. Some are getting it today, while others will adopt it over time, depending on when they want to convert. As in the past, there will be two versions: DoubleClick for Publishers replaces DART for large websites, and a new, free version for small businesses, which replaces Google Ad Manager.

One feature that Google did not add is any new video ad-serving capabilities. At present DoubleClick is focusing on rich media ads (as seen on the YouTube home page) but not in-stream video ads, the TV-like units on premium and longer-form video.

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