Defy Media is trying to bargain with companies that claim the media company’s ad network business owes them money, three of them said.
Two publishers and an ad tech company said that in recent weeks, Defy Media has offered them 20 percent of what they’re owed for ads that Defy Media sold on their sites as part of its programmatic ad network.
One is trending news publisher Viralised, which head of operations James Harris said is owed $21,000. “Their solution to our accounts team is to pay us 20 percent of the invoice and call it quits,” he said. Viralised has not agreed to the offer, he said.
AdPone, an ad tech firm that syndicates programmatic ads across a network of publishers’ sites, claims that Defy Media owes the company $200,000 and has offered to pay 20 percent, said AdPone CEO Alex Martinez.
Another publisher claimed to be owed more than $40,000 and asked to remain anonymous while weighing whether to take the offer or sue to recoup the full amount.
A Defy Media spokesperson declined to confirm the 20 percent claim. “Defy is engaged in ongoing discussions with publishers regarding outstanding balances and consider such discussions to be confidential,” the spokesperson emailed.
Several publishers came forward earlier this month, alleging that Defy Media has not paid them for ads it sold on their sites since at least October 2017. One of those publishers, Topix, said it filed a lawsuit in June, alleging that Defy Media owed it $300,000 for ads that Defy Media ran in December and January.
In mid-May, Defy Media emailed publishers in its ad network that it would suspend its programmatic business, according to publishers that received the email, a copy of which Digiday has reviewed. After receiving that email, some of those publishers said they noticed that Defy Media had continued to run ads on their sites until that point, but hadn’t paid them for months.
The Defy Media spokesperson said earlier this month that the company had been communicating with publishers about when it would pay them.
Three publishers — Topix, PBH Network and Bourbon & Banter — said they asked Defy Media when it would pay them, but got no response or firm commitment to a payment plan.
Patrick Garrett, founder of Bourbon & Banter, said he spoke with a legal representative from Defy Media on June 8, but that representative did not commit to any resolution. Instead, the representative said he would update Garrett on Defy Media’s plans during the week of June 11. As of June 27, Garrett said he had yet to hear from the company.
Alexander Baldwin, co-founder and president of PBH Network, which operates the site All That’s Interesting, said earlier this week that he hasn’t heard from Defy Media about any payment plans.