Can OpenX compete with Google?

Interesting news from Kara Swisher at the BoomTown blog, that former Yahoo executive Tim Cadogan is taking the top spot at OpenX — the open-source ad server company that used to be called OpenAds (and before that was phpads). As Kara notes, Cadogan was involved in the launch of Yahoo’s much-ballyhooed Panama ad search product, and before that he was at GoTo.com. His inaugural blog post is here.

OpenX is an interesting story. It is clearly going after medium-sized to large-scale Web publishers (including TheStreet.com and TechCrunch) that are looking for an alternative to the behemoth that is Google/Doubleclick, and the fact that OpenX is open source makes it appealing as well (the company also recently launched a private beta for a new hosted version). Google has its own similar ad serving software, called Google Ad Manager, but that’s hardly much of an alternative.

I think there are probably lots of publishers out there who are leery of entrusting everything to the Great Google, no matter how un-evil it might be, and are looking for easy (and cheap) alternatives to joining this or that ad network. If OpenX can be the friendly alternative, it could go a long way towards making a business for itself — and it doesn’t have to kill Google to do it, it just has to chip away a little bit of market here and there. Being a strong second or third is perfectly acceptable.

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