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Mozilla Finally Releases Its Browser Ad Product, Hints At Programmatic In 2015

mozillaMozilla, which makes the Firefox web browser, officially released on Thursday its in-browser ad product, which the company first announced in February. Early adopters include media agency Mindshare North America, online booking site, and The Weinstein Company’s video-on-demand portal Radius-TWC.

How it works: Individuals opening Firefox for the first time will see tiles filled with ad content in their browser. For returning users, those tiles typically show images of frequently-visited sites. Users who’ve deleted their history will also see ad content.

Firefox has a reputation as a browser that guards its users’ privacy at the expense of advertiser interests. While consumer advocates might see Firefox’s ad product as a reversal of that stance, Darren Herman, Mozilla’s VP of content, is quick to point out the user benefits.

“The web is increasingly becoming more closed, and that move towards a closed ecosystem is not healthy for users,” he said. “The emergence of a closed Internet model among some of the biggest players is a huge threat to users of the Internet. And if it’s a threat to users of the Internet, it’s a threat to Mozilla.”

Mozilla is also offering Enhanced Tiles, through which brand partners can personalize ad content.

“It’s almost like cookie-less retargeting,” explained Herman. “Enhanced Tiles targets a user we know would go to your site, due to their browsing history, and offers advertisers the ability to put a piece of fresh content in front of that user from a site they’re used to seeing.”

To support ad personalization, Mozilla created an internal data system that aggregates user information while stripping out personally identifiable information. Mozilla can track impressions, clicks, and the number of ads a user hides or pins. Its advertising partners are also privy to that data.

Mindshare NA client CVS Health ran a trial the ad product, launching a campaign about how it removed tobacco from its retail outlets. Radius-TWC is testing the format for a branded campaign on the recently-released Edward Snowden documentary “Citizenfour.”


Linda Woolley To Head Cross-Industry Fraud-Fighting Unit

LindaWoolleyTAGLinda Woolley wants TAG to have teeth in the fight against online ad fraud.

The Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) is part of a cross-industry coalition composed of the American Association of Advertising Agencies, the Association of National Advertisers (which launched its own anti-fraud initiative with White Ops in July), and the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). The group, first announced back in September during Advertising Week, plans to join forces in an effort to combat ad fraud, ad-supported piracy and malware.

Woolley, the former head of the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), was revealed Monday as TAG’s president and CEO, and she told AdExchanger that she won’t shy away from making the group into an enforcement agency. She added that although trade associations generally try to please their members, TAG will crack down on those who aren’t compliant.

“We’ll have real enforcement teeth,” she said. “The CEOs of all three associations have said that this is an important project and that they’re okay to let the chips fall where they may.”

For the moment, that would mean naming names by publicly calling out the bad actors. TAG will likely operate as a certification and monitoring body, along the lines of what the Media Ratings Council does for measurement, with the hope that advertisers can ultimately use the TAG certification “as a way to identify who to do business with,” Woolley said.

“If I’m a big advertiser and my reputation is on the line, do I want to be working with companies that haven’t been verified and don’t have a seal of approval?” she said. “At the very least it would hopefully force the question: Why don’t you have certification, and is the reason due to ignorance or is it something malicious?”


Findings From VivaKi AOD, IAB Support Mobile’s Rising Supremacy

CPMDigital ad revenues in the US hit an historic high in the first half of 2014, reaching $23.1 billion, according to the IAB’s Internet Advertising Revenue Report released Monday. Notably, the IAB reported that mobile jumped 76% YoY and overtook banner ads.

In another Monday release, the VivaKi AOD Benchmark Report saw CPMs increase across display, social, video and mobile channels. The AOD report notes that CPMs within mobile, which range from $0.52 to $1.94 in Q2 2014, are generally on the rise and that advertisers can expect this trend to continue.

“In general, we’ve seen CPMs go up over the last five quarters or so, across verticals,” VivaKi SVP of Analytics Shirley Xu-Weldon told AdExchanger. The reason is real-time bidding, which optimizes the value of each impression based on the number of bidders.

According to Xu-Weldon, targeting adds another dimension to rising CPMs. “If we know something concrete about a user," she said, "if they fall into a particular cookie pool for example, that becomes even more expensive because the impression is already qualified in some way to potential buyers.”


CPXi Keeps Expanding Its Focus

seiman hirsch cpxiRoughly a year ago, CPXi began building out two consumer-facing sites: PressRoomVIP for celebrity culture, and the music-oriented portal Hip Hop My Way.

These two sites formed the foundation of CPXi’s Consumed Media publishing division, which launched in late September. What’s unusual is that CPXi, which used to be the ad network CPX Interactive, doesn’t have roots as a publisher.

But over the past two to three years, the company has transformed itself.

“CPXi’s pivot was taking the pieces of the ad network and diversifying its various holdings into a media company,” said CEO Mike Seiman. “We have all these assets. What don’t we have? We don’t have a content creation division. When we pivoted, we hired people to create content, build a brand, drive traffic to that brand, build an audience and sell it.”

Beyond CPXi’s new publisher line of business, it offers agency-type services via the upcoming innovation lab as well as CCDR Media for direct-response campaign execution.

It also manages programmatic media via its AppNexus-powered exchange bRealTime and last year acquired AdReady so it could supply a self-serve ad platform and dynamic creative tools.

The development of the Consumed Media publishing division, Seiman said, is a natural evolution. He pointed to traditional content networks like Fox, TNT, AMC or Bravo that built or bought tech assets to monetize their inventory.

“They built [their technologies] last, but we built ours first,” he said. In rolling out Consumed Media, CPXi hopes to strengthen its position as a creator and licenser of content.

“Once we bring [consumers] in, we’ll sell those eyeballs to other publishers,” Seiman said. “Because of programmatic, mixed with data and the ability to purchase audiences like any advertiser does, we’re able to find a way to buy the right audiences who like our content such that it’s more valuable for us to pay them to come to our site. Because we’ll know how long they’ll be engaged in our content.”

Besides cultivating its Consumed Media audiences, CPXi also sees the publishing division as a testing bed through which it can experiment with advertising ideas before bringing them to clients.

If anything, CPXi has rolled in the opposite direction of many of its former ad network competitors, which worked to consolidate and streamline their offerings. CPXi is building out separate, though complementary, divisions.

According to company President Jeffrey Hirsch, this is all by design.

“Tying this back into the concept of transitioning, a lot of companies try to do it as a whole company,” he said. “We decided to break it into several smaller companies.”

Seiman and Hirsch spoke with AdExchanger.


Fraud-day With Moat: Finding Fraud Without Calling It Fraud


This is the 11th in a series of interviews with vendors combating the problem of ad fraud. Other companies participating in this series include  Sizmek. Read previous interviews with comScore, DoubleVerify, DstilleryForensiq, Integral Ad Science, PubChecker, Telemetry,VideologyWhite Ops and RTB Asia.

The meta-problem with ad fraud, according to Moat CEO Jonah Goodhart, is that it’s a tremendous industry concern, yet it doesn’t have a definition. Bots surely constitute ad fraud, but what about a 1x1 display banner, or ads stacked up in a single iFrame?

Goodhart acknowledges the latter examples are problems, but do they technically represent fraud or just bad media?

“Fraud” is such a blunt instrument of a term that advertisers can be careless wielding it. Its broadness creates a lack of transparency, which from Moat’s point of view means it can be difficult for vendors, publishers and advertisers to reconcile the issue among themselves. Goodhart rejects the notion that fraud is whatever the advertiser believes it is.

Moat’s solution is to specify exactly what it’s seeing, a discipline that overlaps with its core analytics expertise.

“The solution is to automate clear, defined metrics that roll up to fraud as a theme, without actually saying it’s fraud,” Goodhart said.

An advertiser should be able to know what percentage of traffic came from hijacked devices, for instance, and if she doesn’t want to pay for that, she shouldn’t be obligated to do so.

“We really tripled our efforts in the fraud detection arena,” said Goodhart.

Fraud detection had traditionally been part of the company’s internal tool set, but the company is making plans to expose it to clients as part of its analytics platform.

“We’ve seen huge demand from marketers, who want transparency into what’s happening on the viewability side as well as the fraud side,” Goodhart said, adding that this has come up in every client conversation Moat has had.

Goodhart and Dan Fichter, Moat’s VP of engineering, spoke with AdExchanger.

Attention! There’s A New Kid On The Measurement Block

areclickslickedThe clock’s ticking for the click, and its replacement is rounding the corner: attention.

Real-time analytics startup Chartbeat has some illustrious publisher partners on board for its attention-based metrics – which snagged Media Ratings Council (MRC) accreditation last week – including the Financial Times (FT), Wall Street Journal and

While publishers have traditionally used click-through rates (CTR) to monetize content, the move to attention metrics has what FT commercial director of global digital advertising and insight Jon Slade calls “a profound effect on how we price access to our audience.”

He stopped short of sounding the death knell for old-school metrics like cost per mille and CTR. “We’re not saying they’re entirely useless measures for brand work like display or native, but we are saying that now there’s something more appropriate.”

FT uses attention metrics to price its display advertising based on the amount of time a user spends with its content or platforms.

“Instead of ascribing value simply to a mechanical data point – page impressions – we’re putting value to actual user behavior,” Slade said. “We’re not pricing for thousands of server pings, we’re pricing for time spent [and] advertisers really love this. Attention is a meaningful metric for brand advertising and a far closer proxy to the ambitions of a brand campaign.”


Fraud-day With RTB Asia: The China Perspective

fraudThis is the tenth in a series of interviews with vendors combating the problem of ad fraud. Other companies participating in this series include Moat and Sizmek. Read previous interviews with comScore, DoubleVerify, Dstillery, Forensiq, Integral Ad Science, PubChecker, Telemetry, Videology and White Ops.

When Andy Fan founded Shanghai-based RTB Asia a couple of years ago, fraud detection wasn’t really on his mind. Today, RTB Asia provides the country’s only anti-fraud pre-bid solution.

“At the beginning, we were focused on audience segmentation, but we quickly realized the challenge – and opportunity – of programmatic in China,” Fan said.

The opportunity is this: In China, all ad exchanges, supply-side partners and private marketplaces furnish the full IP address along with each bid request. (This isn’t the case with  other global exchanges, like Google, which hashes part of the IP address.)

With full IP addresses at their disposal, Fan and his team of 12 can categorize each unique number stream based on behavioral patterns. From there, they assign the address with a “humanness” score from 0 to 99. When an IP falls in the 0 to 49 range, the behavior associated with it is characterized as different from human behavior, and RTB Asia’s algorithm might suggest adjusting the price of the bid or scrapping it altogether. If the range is from 50 to 99, the traffic is considered to be normal and human.

As of now, RTB Asia has impressive coverage, with continually updating information about 99.98% of IP addresses in China. Current clients include SSP and DSP player AdChina and online marketing firm iClick, which is in the process of integrating with RTB Asia. China-based DSP Yoyi Media and Kuzai Technology, a company similar to Sizmek, which uses data to fuel dynamic creative, are both in the process of evaluating RTB Asia’s fraud solution.

“The entire fraud industry in China is emerging,” Fan said. “It’s our job to educate advertisers and DSPs that they don’t just have to read reports after the fact – they can detect and reject fake impressions.”

AdExchanger caught up with Fan.


Fraud-day With Telemetry: “Automating Ad Fraud Detection Is Dangerous”

fraudAd-serving and verification company Telemetry isn’t in favor of automating the ad fraud detection process.

The problem, said Geo Carncross, the company’s global VP of engineering, is that detection sensors can be fooled into thinking fraudulent impressions are real and, consequently, advertisers will start optimizing for fraud instead of for real ad performance.

Telemetry’s fraud solution is part of its overall managed service.

“We don’t expressly detect ad fraud,” Carncross said. “We identify fraudulent vehicles. The distinction is important because it’s a labor-driven thing. We build tools and technology to make the analyst more able to interact with the vehicle in real time. Once we’ve identified the vehicle, we can do things similar to what other vendors are doing by isolating and separating.”

Carncross and his colleague, Telemetry head of infrastructure Alex Clouter, spoke with AdExchanger.

IPONWEB CEO Talks Adternity, RTB Fraud And Why He Wouldn’t Be In Business Without Google

BorisRussian real-time bidding (RTB) engineering firm IPONWEB has largely operated behind the scenes as the backbone of many media-trading platforms. Notably, IPONWEB helped RightMedia build out its ad exchange preceding its 2007 acquisition by Yahoo, and has since constructed 40 more trading systems at a similar or smaller scale.

In late August, IPONWEB moved in on Adternity, a workflow and systems integration firm that builds dashboards and ad-serving tools. IPONWEB claimed the acquisition was part of an attempt to expand on an end-to-end offering that already includes u-Platform and BidSwitch technology (trading platform customization and a supply/demand “switch” connecting trading partners).

Boris Mouzykantskii, founder, CEO and chief scientist at IPONWEB, caught up with AdExchanger at DMEXCO last week to discuss the other reasons why it acquired Adternity and how the German company factors into IPONWEB’s evolution.

AdExchanger: Why did IPONWEB buy Adternity?

BORIS MOUZYKANTSKII: Germany is an extremely important market for us. At least from my limited interaction here, you tend to get into technical discussions very quickly and having some German engineers on our team will help us to serve this market better. Historically, as a company, we worked closely with Adternity for many years. They were focusing on their UI solutions and we were building the back end and we still have many clients whom we serve directly so there was a lot of overlap this way.


Programmatic I/O: The Buy And Sell Sides Share Responsibility In Fraud Fight

fraud fightHow bad a problem is online ad fraud, and how should the buy and sell sides divvy the responsibility to combat it?

This question formed the crux of the panel “New Methods For Defeating Fraud In The Programmatic Era,” moderated by WPP's Team Detroit chief digital officer, Kurt Unkel, at Wednesday’s Programmatic I/O conference in New York City.

So are 30% of online ad impressions truly fraudulent, as some industry studies suggest?

Andrew Casale, VP of strategy at sell-side ad tech company Casale Media, thinks that’s about right. “It could be bigger,” he said during the panel.

However Neal Richter, chief scientist at Rubicon Project (which began on the sell side, but has branched out to work with the buy side), differs.

“When someone gives you a number like that, the scientist in me asks, 'Where’d you get the numerator and where’d you get the denominator?'” he said. “There could be a great deal of selection bias in this particular exercise.” Some exchanges might be overwhelmed with fraudulent activity. Others might run a much tighter ship. He added an exchange with good policies should not suffer 30% fraud rates.

Still, the exact percentage is irrelevant, said Michael Tiffany, CEO of White Ops, which specializes in online ad security. Within the mature credit card industry, he said, losses average 7 cents per $100 spent. “If fraud was just 7% of advertising, it would be 100 times worse than the credit card fraud that makes the news everybody hears about,” he said.