Is there a web inventory crisis? Unlike Mick Jagger, it turns out that you can always get what you want-- assuming you plan far enough ahead and are willing to pay the price. In fact, some say that we don't have an inventory issue, we have a pricing issue. At any rate, there are issues, sidebars and issues on top of sidebars to this problem. In the interviews and research conducted over the past several weeks, we've tried to get a handle on the very complex problem. Whether the site side, the agency side or on the part of technology solutions to "the problem," there was no shortage of folks with input-- some on the record and some off the record.
Shortages of preferred inventory do exist-- especially the closer you get to the scheduled start date. The recent declaration by the IAB and its members that they would start charging for schedules as ordered when creative was late (see The Late Creative Conundrum by Jim Meskauskas) is certainly related to tightness of inventory and a "sellers market" in some quarters. However, how big a problem it is depends on the category you are working in, your perspective, your ability to plan and your willingness to pay.Author Notes:
David L. Smith is CEO of Mediasmith, Inc., a media agency and media consultancy based in San Francisco.