Ad Tech’s Alphabet Soup: There are so many acronyms in ad tech — DSP, DMP, AMP, SSP — that the idea of creating a new one is a standard joke. But the serious problem is that these acronyms come at a cost to the sector’s credibility with brands. The confusion and complexity can often appear like a mask for a bunch of very well-funded tech startups trying to overcomplicate the ad-buying process in the hopes of taking a piece of the action. Simulmedia CEO Dave Morgan, founder of ad targeter Tacoda, picks up on this theme in his Mediapost column. He finds it particularly irksome that people throw acronyms around without explaining what they mean — or why they matter.
Airbnb’s Cautionary Tale: For a startup that few had ever heard of, Airbnb is in the midst of a full-on public relations nightmare. What’s interesting is the fans of the controversy were fanned by Silicon Valley blogs. The problem started when a San Francisco woman used the short-term house and apartment rental service to rent her apartment to a person who then proceeded to wreck the place. This is pretty terrible. Airbnb bungled its efforts to ameliorate the situation, leading to a series of distraught and angry blog posts from the victim. It’s a tough story, but I have a feeling we’ve heard it before with all manner of online services that aim to bring people together who never otherwise would. Craigslist, Match.com, MySpace, Facebook — all have dealt with instances where unscrupulous folks have used it to facilitate crime. At the end of the day, people using these networks have to realize they’re at some points taking on a certain amount of risk, such as when they agree to let a complete stranger stay in their apartment.
New Yorker’s iPad Success: Score one for words. It turns out that in the sea of publisher iPad apps loaded to the gills with all manner of techie geegaws, the New Yorker is having quiet success by going in the opposite direction. It’s doubled down on the actual words. The New Yorker app, like the magazine, is rather spare. The results are impressive so far. This approach, of course, won’t work for every publisher. It would make no sense for Vogue to emphasize the text of its articles. But it does show that many different approaches can work on the iPad.
Content + Commerce + Community: In Web 1.0 there was no shortage of companies that sang the same “content, commerce and community” song. Few succeeded. There are better opportunities to do so nowadays. Thrillist is building a tidy business that’s half commerce company, half publisher. The six-year-old email service has over 3 million young-male subscribers for both its editorial content of what’s going on around them that’s fun and commerce offers in the form of Jackthreads and Groupon-style deals. Tying it together is a laser focus on community: young dudes with some money to spend. It all adds up to a $40 million company with 115 employees.
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