News & Analysis

Online publishers across the web went into panic mode when Google DFP crashed last night

- November 13, 2014 2 MIN READ

Last night, as most of us in Australia slept, a slight crisis was happening for thousands of publishers and online entities that rely upon display advertising as a source of revenue for their businesses. Most of the internet was completely Ad Free, for a little under two hours.

As a consumer, many people were probably: a) cheering because advertisements annoy them; or b) did not actually notice any difference during their browsing sessions. But for many websites that receive tens of thousands of clicks to their websites in an hour, representing up to (in some cases) USD$10,000 in custom campaign revenue, the issue sent many in the media space into a meltdown.

The problem was caused by a global outage of Display Advertising tool, Google DFP (Google DoubleClick Ad Server for Publishers). Unlike Adsense in where users of the internet that wish to advertise their own products and services, can upload creatives and set up retargeting, that is then served on website with an Adsense code, Google DFP is used for publishers, like Startup Daily to schedule and manage custom campaigns in-house or in conjunction with various media agencies.

The key to Google DFP’s success and the reason why the system is used to control a great deal of the world’s display advertising is because the data that the system provides publishers and their clients is practically infallible, keeping content creators that make money via display advertising honest as everyone has reporting transparency.

Last night, websites like Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, BBC.com, Mashable and Business Insider to name a few were all affected by the global DFP outage. In fact Startup Daily, which also uses DFP was also void of advertising for a period of time due to the outage – the advantage we, like most Australian online publications had was that given most of our daily audience was asleep, it was not significant enough to impact our business.

Google were quick to react to the problem with Neal Mohan, VP for display and video advertising products at Google, reaching out via twitter, which was full of users complaining about the issue. He also issued a statement afterwards on the Google DFP blog:

DoubleClick for Publishers experienced an outage this morning impacting publishers globally, across their video, display, native and mobile formats. Our team has worked quickly to fix the software bug and it’s now back up and running, so our publisher partners can return to funding their content.

Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 11.23.18 am