My favorite scene from the movie “Trading Places” with Eddie Murphy as Billy Ray Valentine and Dan Aykroyd as Lewis Winthorpe III is the ending in the Comex Commodities Exchange Center (CCEC) Orange Juice pits. The scene:
Valentine: Oh you see, I made Lewis a bet here. Lewis made me a bet that we both couldn’t get rich and put you both in the poor house at the same time. He didn’t think we could do it. I won.
Lewis: I lost… One Dollar!
Valentine: Thank you Lewis.
Lewis: After you.
Valentine: Certainly. (Lewis laughing.)
Exchange Floor Official: Margin call, gentlemen.
Mortimer Duke: Why you can’t expect…
President of Exchange: You know the rules. All accounts to be settled at the end of the day’s trading, without exception.
This last statement from the President of the Exchange to both Dukes is why futures work. Most importantly real orange juice (OJ) will be delivered. I mentioned “real” because in adtech, we see different types of fraud delivered.
The futures contracts represent real orange juice. The buyers aren’t expecting fake orange juice. When delivery occurs, real orange juice is really delivered. In adtech its much more different. The term fake adtech is real. End of month ad stuffing is seen with publishers “marking the close” a term from Wall St which is a form of market manipulation. This marking the close is done by ad bots which are artificially generating revenue for the publishers on the advertisers dime.
Other types of fraud exist in adtech which is why a futures market in adtech is very difficult to make. The problem is a buyer of a contract really expects real orange juice. In adtech a buyer doesn’t know what they are buying.
Futures is a way for a farmer to hedge their crops for unforeseen events in weather. They’d rather get paid now and push the future risk off to somebody else. Other buyers or speculators provide liquidity for this sale.
In adtech, we are in a new dawn of super fast changing news. Publishers want to get paid but also have risk from the latest news scandal and an advertiser dropping them as a result of the scandal. This is risk publishers would gladly like to eliminate. If both parties trust what will be delivered, a new market will be created in adtech.
Transparency meaning real ads viewed or clicked by a human is the last step needed for futures on digital ads.