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back to article Secrets of an ad broker: NoSQL, millisecond auctions and FLASH ARRAYS

Typically a web page featuring online ads is built with space set aside for the ad. A user clicks on the page's URL and it's presented to that user in real time and the spaces are populated with pre-built and stored ads. So far so ordinary, only with online ad-broker Tapad the ads are not pre-stored at all. What happens is that …

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How much did this article cost Tapad?

There's a certain irony about The Register running an advert for an advertising broker masquerading as a regular article.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: How much did this article cost Tapad?

Not an ad,

But it's a story on aerospike and its the real deal.

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Pint

Surprised ?

Actually most of the articles related to storage are like this, advertisement hidden in plain-view. And it really is, I saw it when I was working with some storage company and could see the article at el reg was more or less the public announcement.

That being said, how could they do differently ? I mean, everything related to storage is really expensive in terms of money, time to install, time to see the real benefits. Obviously they can't give a try to everything as easily as to the new laptop measure the battery life and compare the .

But I'm pretty sure if anybody knows of better ways to talk about storage, the writers of the register would take good notice. :)

Paris, cauz she knew how to make her own publicity.

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Re: How much did this article cost Tapad?

Surely if this was a pad-for puff (i.e. an ad) then would El Reg be required to declare it as such? Just like puff articles in papers are require to state "Marketing bullcrap" or something at the top?

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Re: How much did this article cost Tapad?

True, but the tone of the writing is rather excited. Either the author truly loves this technology and it has hugely impacted their life or there is another factor influencing their devotion. Yes it is a fairly novel approach and seemingly well executed, but seriously its just a way of targetting ads a little better on a per instance basis, it's not like its the hobbit in 48p or anything ;-)

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JDX
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Re: How much did this article cost Tapad?

Considering the Reg commentard-base is happy to believe any comment which doesn't criticise MS is paid for, I'll give this conspiracy theory the same level of respect.

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Might be worse

TheReg might have gotten no money from that and actually believed this was an actual report.

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I probably owe Chris an apology, I doubt it is paid for. It just reads like an advert at times. I've never had that vibe before from Chris's work and it's not often you get it at all on el reg which is probably why it stood out so much. There are just points where it's so close to those 'articles' on random Asian berries that help you live to be 250, honest!

Perhaps I just don't get as excited about storage as some folks :-)

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no flash arrays here

just a few servers with some SSDs in them.. I'd imagine the cost model of all-SSD arrays are out of reach for the folks working in the advertising space which is in a constant race to the bottom. Having worked at such a company for a few years it wasn't fun(said company has struggled for years now and recently laid off a bunch of folks). Rather be at a place that has decent margins, much more enjoyable.

I'd wager this company is probably running on whitebox hardware with Intel SSDs or something.

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Non Sequitur

Disk drive arrays and RDBMS' are massive obstacles to the provision of such applications.

The second does not follow. Nothing in this article even talks about the pros/cons of relational databases.

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Re: Non Sequitur

Ahhh, did you even read the article.

" Tapad co-founder and chief technology officer Dag Liodden says a relational database just couldn't keep up with the simultaneous analytics and transaction work required. It would need a hugely powerful and costly infrastructure behind it and would have been functional overkill. That's why a key:value (or distributed hash table) NoSQL database is used. "

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So they know where I am and what I'm doing

What sort of adverts do they serve to the blocked-advert crowd?

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Re: So they know where I am and what I'm doing

Often I run Facebook in Chromium without an ad-blocker just to see how, and to whom, am I being whored. It is interesting to see how they move towards dating adverts as the evening progresses. I guess that tells me all I need to know about my sex life.

The fact I am looking at Facebook late in the evening, that is!

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Anonymous Coward

Very clever, I'm sure

But Ghostery and Ad Blocker sort that out nicely.

By the way: less of the Advertorials please, else we'll head elsewhere.

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JDX
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FAIL

Re: Very clever, I'm sure

Nice of you to speak for all of us. Actually, we won't.

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Re: Very clever, I'm sure

Up votes Vs Down votes says otherwise.

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JDX
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Re: Very clever, I'm sure

Yes those 8 people...

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FAIL

Nice, balanced journalism.

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informative enough

I'm happy to read an article like this to learn how one company does what it does. I don't read the article as saying this is the best or only way. I appreciate the different perspectives. One should always read articles like this with a critical eye.

A lot must depend on how many ad bidders this user typically has, how many ad spaces to fill per unit time, etc., which the author didn't get into. If there is lots of variability in the number of requests and lots of bidders for each request, this will require different hardware/software solutions than if there was typically one or two bidders and a steady flow of requests. If he found that disk drive access times and database access times were the bottlenecks, this might be good to know, along with his (current) solution.

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Wasted talents?

Reminded me of a quote by Jeff Hammerbacher (Cloudera / ex-facebooker) in a story from last year - "The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads," he says. "That sucks."

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Holmes

Re: Wasted talents?

I'm wondering if we're finally beginning to see the start of a movement that doesn't adverts as the cost for 'free' web services? Perhaps we might be moving to a system where people, y'know' 'pay' for the services they want to use?

As many others have noted: if I want something, I'll search for it. If I don't want it, no amount of advertising is going to make me buy it. So all advertising is is expensive for the advertiser and a waste of time/bandwidth for me - and that makes it more expensive to me, and to you, and to everybody else. Even the things which are *not* advertised still have the cost of the advertising of other products from the same manufacturer stuffed into their sale price.

Yes. Companies do need to advertise their products - but do they really need to shove it in our faces?

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Re: Wasted talents?

1) How do you "know" you want something if nobody tells you it's available?

2) Targeted adds are better than spray 'n pray for advertiser, publisher and viewer

3) Remember the web without advertising? Wan't to go back there?

OK, I confess, marketing is what I do for a living and it makes me miffed when I see posts like this. So block all ads, don't watch commercial TV, don't read magazines or newspapers, shut your eyes to all outdoor adverting and stay in your bunker.

Merry Christmas

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Re: Wasted talents?

Did you read the last line of the comment? I don't argue that there is no need to advertise, merely that that advertisement need not be in my face. Your 'you need to 'know'' is my 'you're wasting my time' - something of which I have a limited and diminishing amount... alternative advertising models include - but are not limited to - trade publications, reviews in relevant sites (like this one), word of mouth, trade shows, sponsorship deals... hell, you're the marketer; you tell me.

If targeted adverts are so good, how do you explain the complete lack of observable sanity about them? I buy tyres; the I get adverts for more tyres. I buy a laptop; I get adverts for more laptops. I buy a car, or white goods, or a TV, or any other big-ticket item with a long lifespan and I get adverts *immediately* to replace it. That's not going to happen and I can't believe any sane marketing person really believes it's going to - but 'targeted adverts' has such a sexy ring about it. Sure, you're in the business of making me dissatisfied with what I've got; fine. You've got your priorities and I've got mine. But I can see only a couple of cases where advertising makes any sense at all: when you have a genuinely new product which will fulfil a need in my life that I don't even know I have (and after fifty-plus years, it's hard to see what that might be), or when it's a consumable - probably food or entertainment - where 'you liked that, have you considered this?' might be appropriate. When you have something genuinely new, rather than 'this year's model - rounded corners!' you may have something to say.

The web before advertising? Hell yes... the web these days has the majority of sites organised purely and simply to provide a hook to supply eyeballs to advertisers, and in the same way that commercial TV and Radio and the press have become full of sycophantic crap to keep the advertisers happy, to the dearth of real content, so has the web. So yes, I will continue to avoid commercial television (or at least, in real time) and flick over the pages of adverts in magazines and newspapers.

By all means be miffed. While I apologise if I have offended you personally, I do not apologise for merely raising the possibility of debate that the current model may not be the best of all possible worlds. Your needs as an advertiser/marketer and mine as a 'consumer' are not the same, and there is no contract, implicit or explicit, which requires me to watch your adverts.

Happy auxiliary gifting period!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Wasted talents?

1) If I have a need, I go looking for a solution. It's not complicated.

If you're selling something that people aren't already looking for, you have two options:

a) Go and do something else.

b) Use every cheap psychological trick in the book to make idiots think they want it anyway.

One of these options makes you an immoral parasite.

2) Targeted ads are theoretically better, however I've never seen any that work. Even Amazon, who have a huge amount of data about me, have never suggested anything that I want.

3) I remember the web without advertising, it was faster and easier to read. Given the enormous increase in bandwidth, it still shocks me how slow the web is.

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Re: Wasted talents?

I have no problem with Marketing in general; as some others have noted how do I know a product exists if it is never marketed. I have a big problem with people making money off my activities and stalking me based on past web activity. I don't want Company X being paid by Company Y to shove an ad in my face because at some point in the past I visited or looked for information about Company Z.

I remember when Cable TV first started here in the US (yes, that's how freaking old I am) and one of the big selling points was that sure you had to pay for TV, but there wouldn't be any adverts on it. Yeah, that didn't last long; now we pay for Cable and still have to watch ads.

I fully agree with the original Wasted Talents post: companies should spend more on R&D to improve their products and less on trying to market half-assed products. Marketing may get someone to buy a bad product once; but, an excellent product keeps customers coming back.

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Do They Really Do That?

All sounds fine, sensible even, until:

"Tapad's system then contacts these potential advertisers' systems and says: "I have a potential spot for you with this requester's metadata. Do you want to make a bid?" The potential advertisers then match the potential spot to their needs."

It seems a bit odd that they spend all that time & money optimising their own system, and then make calls to sundry other external systems with unquantifiable response times and round-trip latency, which together are probably at least an order of magnitude longer than their internal system response. Surely they have the advertisers' bids already in their system, as Google does with Adwords?

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500000 transactions answered per second

The key word is answered, not that they do that many transactions. I've certainly managed to achieve better than this with an RDBMS on a €1000 self built system.

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