A year ago, there was a lot of buzz about how many ad networks there were and how the market couldn't possibly support so many. "Shakeout threatens to thin out web-ad brokers," warned the Wall Street Journal. But "no apocalyptic shakeout has hit yet," according to a recent Ad Age op-ed.
Why? For one, Ad Networks are riding $1.5 billion in venture capitol raised over the past five years, says the Ad Age op-ed. Also, as the web continues to grow and fracture, Ad Networks are the cheapest, easiest way for some advertisers to reach the most people.
Of course, whether or not ad networks are the most effective way to reach people is currently under hot debate.
What next for the ad network space? From the Ad Age op-ed: "Continued commoditization of pricing and tighter margins" will create a world where "many ad networks will survive but relatively few will flourish and become great businesses."