Digital Window Interview
Q: Digital Window acquired buy.at Back in March of this year. 7 months on, how well do you feel the business is going?
Adam Ross (AR): I think it has been a really successful acquisition. We were fortunate enough to have quite a big office space in London so we were able to take in all the buy.at at staff straight into the office from Day One, I think that really helped the guys intergrate and see that we were exactly the same types of business, with the same cultures and same type of staff.
Mark Walters (MW): I think it was a massive advantage in the sense that we were both such strong competitors because of the fact that we were so similar. As Adam has already mentioned the cultural aspect, our reliance on very good technology, also the fact that we had a number of shared clients across the board. So, generally it has just taken the ethos that kind of existed within buy.at and Affiliate Window and made it bigger.
Q: There seems to be a lot of brands moving from buy.at to the Affiliate Window platform recently. What brands will be left on the buy.at platform and will it eventually disappear in the UK Space?
AR: I think the idea is to have one platform. So what we're trying to do at the moment with the Darwin project is to build one platform to beat them all, taking the best elements from both systems, putting them into one, better system. So, whether the client is on the Affiliate Window platform or the buy.at platform should be irrelevant, they will eventually all be on this new improved platform.
Q: Axel Springer, who own a majority stake in Digital Window, are now responsible for 3 UK Networks. It's not quite a 'network monopoly' just yet, but do you think this is good for the market as a whole?
MW: I think, truthfully, Zanox had quite a small footprint in the UK, so us being able to aqcuire their UK operation makes complete sense. There's much closer ties now with what's going on in mainland Europe with Zanox as a whole and what we're doing in the UK. That's both on an employee level, harmonised service level, and a technology level as well. I think the acquisition of buy.at was a strategic move. Thankfully the deal that went through with AOL wasn't very successful for them and an aopportunity arose, I believe a number of other major networks were in the running, but we were successful.
AR: The challenge now is to make sure that we use our position in the market across Europe to help Publishers out, building better tools and systems. There are already a number of projects underway with Zanox to achieve that. So - Watch this space - I think publishers will start to feel the real effect of the tri-partnership.
Q: Affiliate Window to enter the European Market over the next year?
AR: The partnership with Zanox enables us to do that. We won't be opening up Affiliate Window within Europe, but we'll be strengthening the partnership with Zanox to offer clients coverage and reach across every European territory. That's the plan!
Q: With 3 a4uAwards under your belt for 2010, how does Digital Window value these awards?
MW: For us, they're definitely a measure that we seem to be doing the right things. We don't want to rest on our laurels, we're always looking to drive things on. The truth is that the awards that are voted for by the industr are the most important to us, as that's our market. The success of key merchant programmes or profiling of individual account managers is also great.
Q: Do you feel that competition from other networks has increased over the past 12 months to rival your recent award wins?
AR: It gets tougher every year. Last year we were disappointed to lose the Innovation Award, the challenge now is 'can we win it back?' and 'can we retain the publishers choice of network award?'. We've got a lot of work to achieve that, but we're quite hopeful that with the Darwin project and some of the tools we're going to be releasing into that, we're hoping we can have a big impact at the awards next year as well.
MW: It's no fun unless it's a challenge.
Q: Do you think Publishers are currently innovating faster than Advertisers and Networks can handle at present?
AR: Good question. I don't think they're innovating faster, I think the technology that we have is scalable and can work for many different business models. We're recently seeing the introduction of a lot of Facebook marketing and now the retargeting. The systems are more than capable to handle all that, there might be some small tweaks to be made, but generally speaking, I think we're well placed to take advantage of what's happening in the Market.
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