Auctions only work when the value of a product is indeterminate, as I wrote. That could be either a warehouse full of 1994 calendars or a Van Gogh. This economic esprit can apply to some media, like the Angelfire crap that used to make up the bulk of Flycast’s blind-bid media network, or perhaps the home page takeover on Yahoo!. But it’s not going to work for TV spots on “Scrubs” or 300x250s on Marketwatch.
Some suggested that the value of measured media is nothing but indeterminate until the media is not only booked but paid for. Many first-, second- and third-tier rate cards are the products of a mature valuation process that sets a very basic limit in the marketplace: the absolute most anyone will pay per unit. The inverse is also true: representing the exact amount no media buyer with any client money will ever pay. According to this perspective, the cost of almost all rate card media is almost always indeterminate, and remains so until the seller and buyer make the deal and, in so doing, declare it otherwise.
It was generally agreed that the auction environment isn’t right for every occasion, but a common belief is that there is nothing fundamental in media to prohibit a viable auction environment for it.
The TV networks and Google were regularly referenced as evidence that a media auction marketplace could work for most media, and are signs of things to come.
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