The accounting firm PwC (does that still stand for “Price Waterhouse
Coopers”?) has done a study
<https://www.theregister.co.uk/2020/05/07/ad_tech_fees_sucked/> of the
online ad market, to see where all the money is going. Turns out only
about half the money spent by advertisers makes it all the way to the
publishers, with the rest siphoned off by various intermediaries along
the way (not all of them legitimate), and 15% could not be accounted
for at all.
Much of this trading is now done “programmatically”, between automated
systems, rather than by direct agreements between humans. And these
systems are more complex (i.e. “having more stages where a percentage
cut can be taken”) than they need to be.
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