Ad serve network Fusion Ads has announced that it has been purchased by rival ad network BuySellAds in a blog post today. The post was written by Fusion’s Chris Bowler who says that “every good story has an ending. Both Michael [Mistretta] and I are ready for a new page in our lives and careers.” Updates below.
BuySellAds says that it plans to run Fusion ‘as it is’. This is an important point because the fundamental approaches of these two networks is incredibly different.
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Fusion Ads are known for their subtlety and small size, with just one ad appearing on any one page on a given domain. They are also driven primarily towards creative sites that feature authors, designers and ‘tastemakers’ that work in the tech world. It is also notoriously picky about the quality of the visuals, products and layouts in the ads that it displays:
When we say beautiful, we mean beautiful. In order to maintain our high standard of quality, all advertisers, products and creatives must be hand-approved and found suitable for the network. We reserve the right to reject any products or services that we do not endorse or personally believe in.
BuySellAds, by comparison, has a much more laissez-faire approach to selling ads and allows publishers to slice up their site and sell ads targeted to specific pages and regions to advertisers.
To give you a comparison, here is a Fusion Ad in action at Shawnblanc.net:
A site with its advertising driven by BuySellAds, Touchpuppet, shows a contrast in the way that it allows the vendors to control the look of the ads and the site runner to choose placement and offer multiple slots.
As Ben Brooks notes, he was contacted by Fusion’s Bowler personally last night, but Fusion customers have yet to be contacted by BuySellAds. “I love Fusion, and the people in the network, they have all been great to me,” says Brooks, “as with any major change or buyout in the industry I am interested in how the buyer handles the purchase, so far I am not impressed.”
The worries aren’t limited to the way that the handoff is being conducted either, developer Marco Arment, who uses ads from The Deck on his site, raises a point that I’m sure will be on many Fusion customer’s minds, “BuySellAds appears to be so different that some doubts from Fusion’s publishers are certainly reasonable.”
BuySellAds also announced the purchase on its site, along with the acquisition of Beacon Ads.
It will be interesting to see how this transition goes down.
Update: Todd Garland of BuySellAds has sent out an email to Fusion publishers just a few minutes ago explaining the details of the acquisition. In it he mentions that BSA is hosting a live chat to answer questions that any may have.
He also presents three points to help explain how the transition will go down and to allay fears:
#2 The name of our company, BuySellAds, probably makes us sound larger, generic, and more bureaucratic than we really are. The truth is that we got our start in the web design/development community and that is our largest vertical at BuySellAds. Sure, many of the sites within this inventory on our site have a completely different approach than a network like Fusion, but that’s why we plan to keep Fusion as-is and not change than great thing you guys have going. I still do all of our front-end design and html/css/js work, and I’m more of a front-end UI person that a business person.
#3 We bought Fusion because we admire the network, it members, and we believe that putting BSA behind a network like Fusion will not only ensure it’s continued success, but also bring with it a team of people very similar to Chris and Michael who thoroughly enjoy working with publishers just like you.
There’s a good chance that you won’t really notice much change. You’ll get paid the same day Chris used to pay you, from the same PayPal (or wire) account, and you’ll notice the same constant flow of highly relevant advertisers on your websites. You’ll have 3 people with whom you can voice any concerns, ask questions, and work with in myself, Jon, and Matthew. We’re not changing the name of Fusion, we’re not folding the website into BuySellAds, we’re not going to do anything like this that would risk the great brand, reputation, and consistency that Chris and Michael have created with Fusion.
Chris Bowler of Fusion Ads has also sent an explanatory email out to customers, accepting the blame for the lack of communication on BSA’s part:
A couple of folks have expressed concern that the folks at BuySellAds have not yet contacted you. Please place this blame on me as I requested that I be able to fill everyone in personally first. I included details regarding their intentions for the transition, but that was obviously not adequate. Please accept my apology.
In the interests of full disclosure, some of the advertising that you see on TNW is powered by BuySellAds.