A couple of weeks ago, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer promoted SVP of advertising and data platforms, Scott Burke.
Mayer put Burke in charge of all advertising technology at Yahoo. She also elevated him to her senior staff, where he will report directly to her.
After Kara Swisher of All Things D broke the news, we reached out to a number of Burke’s former colleagues, ex-Yahoos still in the industry.
Most of the people we talked to believe Mayer made a mistake, though one applauded the hire.
First, the naysayers…
One former Yahoo executive said the promotion was a “bizarre” move on Mayer’s part.
“[Burke] has been in charge for all the [screw] ups at Yahoo across ad tech and he keeps getting promoted. He’s a professor not an operator.”
This source said Burke is responsible for three failures at Yahoo in particular.
This source said: “APT is a disaster. RMX is a disaster. Zero non-direct video monetization. Start there.”
That’s a lot of jargon that might not make sense to most people.
So let’s go over each of these “disasters” from a broader perspective.
“RMX is a disaster.”
In 2007, Yahoo spent $680 million buying the Right Media Exchange (RMX). At the time RMX was the world’s leading advertising exchange, a place where publishers could sell inventory and advertiser could buy it.
Six years later, that acquisition is widely regarded as a failure. All of RMX’s senior executives are out of the company.
Meanwhile, the DoubleClick team is still at Google, where they built a new ad exchange that dominates the industry.
“APT is a disaster.”
In 2008, Yahoo announced – in very grand fashion – that it would reinvent the way online advertising was sold across the Internet. It said it had “intentions” to build a platform, called AMP!, that all online publishers and advertisers could use to buy and sell ad inventory wherever, whenever.
It would, according to a press release, “take the pain and complexity out of advertising online by providing an integrated, web-based solution that allows unprecedented ease of cross-selling across a large ecosystem of buyers and sellers.”
Sounds amazing, right?
AMP! eventually became APT, a product with much lower ambitions and little use.
“Zero non-direct video monetization.”
Yahoo makes almost all of its money selling ads.
Two of the biggest trends changing online advertising right now are video and something called “programmatic ad buying.”
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