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  • 34.

    When intermediation comes into play, different combinations of relationships can take place between the players (publishers, intermediaries, ad serving service providers), which can generate "unbundled" or "bundled" solutions26.

  • 35.

    As regards the ad serving, depending on the business model developed by the intermediary, different combinations of technology and routing/hosting services are potentially available to publishers. The ad network can make available to its members ad serving capabilities developed in-house27 or outsourced to a third- party tool provider28. The intermediary may then oblige its customers to use this ad serving technology or allow them to use their own tools. In all cases, publishers and advertisers are free to apply other tools on top of those provided for or imposed by the intermediary e.g. for improved monitoring.

36. Intermediated unbundled sales occur when intermediaries offer no ad serving tool or when they offer it but do not oblige customers to use it (i.e. intermediation services and ad serving are purchased separately by publishers and/or advertisers). For instance, the ad network Oridian uses a third-party ad serving tool but leaves customers free to use their tool. Other examples include ad networks Zanox/AxelSpringer, Ligatus, ad pepper29 and Advertising.com that offer an in-house ad serving solution that is not bundled with their intermediation services.

  • 37.

    Intermediated bundled sales occur when intermediation services and ad serving technology are jointly offered by the intermediary. For instance, AdLink, Europe's largest ad network, uses DoubleClick as its ad serving provider for all the publishers belonging to the network and offers ad serving services to its customers. Yet, as mentioned in paragraphs 28 and 30 above, this structure still leaves the possibility for publishers to re-route their ad space through their tool provider, on top of the intermediary's tool, for direct monitoring purposes.

  • 38.

    The bundled model was initially developed for search ads. Indeed, major search engine providers offering search ads on their own sites have also developed intermediation networks (e.g. Google's AdSense network, Yahoo!'s YPN and BlueLithium). These providers tend to offer intermediation services bundled with ad serving capabilities. The same model is now developing for non-search ads as well. Until recently, suppliers of ad serving tools and intermediaries for non-search ads tended to be separate businesses. However, intermediaries now offer a more complete service by also including in their offer the ad serving technology.


These combinations were also called "integrated" or "non-integrated" solutions by third-parties during the investigation. The parties' economic consultants dispute the terminology of "integrated" vs. "non- integrated" solutions on grounds that even the "non-integrated" solutions offered by intermediaries (ad networks or ad exchanges) always comprise some basic ad serving technology.


E.g. Zanox.


E.g. AdLink.


Ad pepper provides search advertising through the search tool provided by Google.


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