Migrate from OpenX to DoubleClick

Posted: 18th November 2010 by Jacky Yong in Computers
Both OpenX and DoubleClick are advertisement serving engines that you can plugin to your site for managing and serving ads. They are both very popular ad-serving solutions, but recently my company decided to migrate all their ad management from OpenX to DoubleClick. What triggered the decision?
Actually the management has been meaning to migrate to DoubleClick for a long time, but the last straw was when there was a huge security issue of someone trying to compromise our website. A quick patch was all that was needed to fix the issue, but it sure scared the hell out of us all!
Other than the aforementioned security issue, why do we want to migrate? There are a few more issues actually. OpenX has been giving us a lot of headache, the loading speed was blamed for the sluggishness of the site. OpenX had to be installed in our server for it to serve the ads, no cloud software this is! So there is a constant need to update the OpenX to its latest version. As with all things Malaysian, nobody wants to do maintenance work.
Migrating to DoubleClick did not just happened overnight. First we needed a Google Adsense account. Luckily we have that already, but if you don’t already have that, it will take a while for the account to be approved by Google. They can be very strict in approving accounts, trust me.
Then you will need to do the actual migrations. The terms in DoubleClick can be very confusing coming from OpenX. The individual advertisement placeholders in the website for example, is called zones in OpenX, but consists of “ad units” and “placements” in DoubleClick. And they seem to be interchangeable! Weird! In OpenX, the individual ads are grouped by Advertisers, followed by Campaigns, and finally Banners. In DoubleClick you have Orders, then Line Items and finally Creative, in more or less the same order.
Also one also has to be very careful when loading physical advertisements to DoubleClick; one small mistake and it will not load at all! There are two things that you will need to keep in mind:
  1. All flash files NEEDS to have ClickTags. This is really a bummer! While OpenX is more lenient on this requirement, DoubleClick punishes you for not having ClickTags by not letting you click on the ad at all! We had to trace all our previous flash files and check whether or not they contain proper ClickTags. Really time consuming!
  2. The second thing you need to remember is that 3rd party scripts must have the full qualified URL, NOT relative path. That means that “http://www.somedomain.org/javascript.js” is not the same as “/javascript.js”. Which again means you will have to change all the codes one by one!

Also did you notice that DoubleClick requires a cooling period of 45 to 60 minutes before the changes are visible! Compare this with just 15 to 30 minutes with OpenX! *hopeless case* Also, DoubleClick server might not necessarily sit near to you physically; most may sit half-way around the world, while OpenX is essentially just next door.

I can go on and on. But why do we still migrate to DoubleClick then?  Good question, one which I may not have full answer. Perhaps its affiliation with Google makes it cooler? Also we did not want to use so many servers, so by using DoubleClick, we are actually saving on the number of servers (albeit we only saved one lousy server)

  1. Borja says:

    ehy Jacky! I am trying to get some more info about how to migrate to doubleclick. What I found in your blog was really useful but I was wondering if you have a document/file more comprehensive info about how to migreta to dart search.


  2. Jacky Yong says:

    Hi Borja,

    I would love to share it with you, but unfortunately the company which I worked for does not practise good documentation. Even after I left the company (yes, I left a month ago) I had to handover my knowledge VERBALLY! That was the reason I write my knowledge down on this blog, so that everyone will be able to benefit from it, not just that company.

    You might also want to consider info from Google too, I got my knowledge from there as well ….. 😉