Accusations of kickbacks from the estimated $1 billion ad spend Publicis sends Google were reported by TechCrunch. Google is blowing the doors off with its display advertising business, which’s doing so well that the company bragged that it’s on a $2.5 billion annualized revenue run-rate just in display. A big part of that growth is coming from YouTube and Google’s own sites. But another big driver of display advertising growth both for Google and across the industry is coming from a less well-understood source: the big advertising agencies themselves and their so-called trading desks and demand side platforms.
By one estimate, these DSPs already account for 10% of online ad spending, and could grow to as much as 50% over the next few years.
Publicis, is pushing a ton of advertising dollars through Google in return for what two industry insiders independently refer to as “kickbacks” or “rebates.” Kurt Unkel, an SVP at Vivaki flatly denies there’re any payments of this kind. “There isn’t a rebate in play. We’ve a strategic partnership,” says Unkel. Any suggestion that Publicis is accepting payments from Google in return for driving online ad spending through Google’s “an utter crock of shit,” he says.
He adds, “That’s illegal in the U.S.”
Adotas, calling TechCrunch claims baseless, said Publicis’ Vivaki “buys through the DoubleClick Ad Exchange as well as the RMX — a good DSP or trading desk will have access to all the major exchanges. Vivaki’s big crime seems to be not informing clients that its Audience on Demand DSP tech is based on the stuff Google inherited in the Invite Media acquisition”.
They stated the company was merely taking advantage of white label technology of Google’s DoubleClick Ad Exchange.