Automated ad buying is beset with a lack of transparency and a developing mythology about problems it was supposed to solve and hasn't, writes Brian Morrissey. For example, bid biasing means that the highest price bid sometimes doesn't win, and it isn't always clear if a trading desk is going to arbitrage ad inventory. Also, private exchanges haven't had the scale to right automated exchange imbalances, the value of Big Data is still dubious, and automation has focused on volume and has done little to weed out bad inventory as promised.

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