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Additionally, adding support for advertising at scale is a massively complex effort, and usually invisible to outsiders.

It's one thing to build a WhatsApp-type app, focusing 100% of your energy on the core messaging functionality itself, and little else.

It's a completely different thing to build a revenue-generating business that needs to connect with an entire ecosystem of advertisers, ad servers, video servers, programmatic ad exchanges, analytics, brand safety, reporting, billing systems, and a lot more.

And we're not even talking about services. There's another big layer of complexity to keep those services running 24x7 (well beyond just SREs), ensuring ads are running properly, campaigns are fully optimized, advertisers are happy with what they're getting, etc.

Why not outsource the complex ad work to a company that specializes in it? Why not use Google's DFP platform for instance?

Supply side platforms take a pretty big cut of the overall revenue, and are often very focused on existing formats like text and video. You’d be losing out on a huge chunk of advertising dollars both from the SSP cut as well as not getting optimal pricing because you’re bidding in the wrong market.

Of course ideally the question would be “why not just have users pay you directly instead of relentlessly monetizing every bit of personal information you can squeeze out of them” but as an industry unfortunately it doesn’t seem like we’re there yet.

An army of full time employees ain't cheap either. I imagine your ad business would have to be very large to justify the investment, especially if building & supporting an ad platform is not your core business.

When building an advertising platform that can potentially compete with Google, it's best to not put your entire revenue stream under the control of Google.

> Additionally, adding support for advertising at scale is a massively complex effort...

My interpretation of the GP's comment is that the advertising platform is not the core business but rather a secondary concern. Focus on your core business and outsource the rest.

In that case, I agree with you that outsourcing is a good way to go. However, it should be stressed that the "core business" needs to be the core revenue generating portion of the business. I don't care if your company is dedicated towards making "the best photo sharing/social media/experience sharing platform for users". If at the end of the day your bills are being paid by advertisers, you're an advertising company and are in direct competition with Google.

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