- Yahoo, AOL and Microsoft are issuing a call to the industry to develop a common technological standard that would allow advertisers to buy premium ads through a computer, bypassing the need for time-consuming phone calls and meetings.
- Yahoo is piloting the effort and has begun automating its top tier ad inventory. According to a Yahoo VP, what the company refers to as programmatic premium or programmatic direct will increase through the end of the year and be "full blown" by early 2014.
- Ad tech company Yieldex, which works with publishers like The New York Times, ESPN and Pandora, is already developing technology that fits with the common standards agreed upon by Yahoo, AOL and Microsoft.
A common set of technological ad standards as proposed by Yahoo, AOL and Microsoft certainly would make premium ad buying simpler, faster and more cost effective for advertisers and for publishers. Publishers' sales teams are likely to view this industry shift as a threat to their positions, much like the auction-style online ecosystem already is, but publishers will still need sales teams in a consulting role to advertisers. That shift may be a welcome one, as they will no longer have to devote the bulk of their time to pitching.
Not all premium advertising is likely to shift to automatic means, even if it is the majority of options. Products like Yahoo's home page takeover will still only be offered through direct contact with the sales team.