Today, ad verification company AdSafe Media announced the hiring of Scott Knoll as CEO replacing founder Helene Monat. Previously, Knoll was founder and president of Datran Media’s Aperture as well as CEO of BlackFoot, a digital advertising solutions company, and “spent 6 years at DoubleClick, directing the launch and development of the DoubleClick ad network.” Read the release.
Knoll discussed his new chief executive role and its implications.
AdExchanger.com: Why is the CEO role at AdSafe Media right for you at this point in your career?
SK: I really enjoyed founding, building and scaling Aperture from scratch, but ultimately I was interested in finding an opportunity with a well-financed independent startup. I had a lot of exposure to various companies in the online advertising space and I was particularly impressed with AdSafe’s strong reputation, innovative thinking and superior technology.
When I got my first glimpse at AdSafe’s machine-learning platform and data science models that can differentiate the subtle nuances in highly subjective content across billions of impressions, it struck me that I was staring at the future. It’s clear that someday advertisers will leverage AdSafe’s technology to make complex targeting, purchasing and attribution decisions based on their own custom-fit scores.
Ad verification and brand protection is a competitive environment and while I am confident that AdSafe currently has the best solution in the space, I believe that we are still only scratching the surface. In the early days, verification technology just provided an auditing function, but this in turn created more work for agencies, accounting nightmares and tension between publishers and advertisers. The latest evolution of verification allows advertisers to make a real-time decision on whether a page of inventory is appropriate before the ad is served based on the brand’s specific requirements. And by appropriate, I am referring to not only the safety rating of a page’s content, but also the nature of the content, the specific location of the user or other factors such as device types.
I recognize a huge need in the marketplace to redefine the way advertisers and publishers identify and target appropriate media. The current practice of leveraging cookies to target specific audience segments does not scale for most advertisers and has created all kinds of inefficiencies as buying trends towards real-time algorithm based trading. AdSafe’s core competency is in data sciences and its ability to make very complex decisions based on a number of different data points about the content of the page, the type of audience it attracts and readers’ behaviors. This puts us in a very strong position to build advertising solutions for buyers and sellers that create better efficiency and results in the marketplace at great scale.
What’s your view on the opportunity for publishers with AdSafe?
AdSafe believes that in order to provide value to an already complex ecosystem we need to maintain an objective impartial approach with our Rating Standard. Keeping in line with this business philosophy the company is recognized across the ecosystem for providing solutions that help both the supply side and the buy side. For example, the AdSafe Ratings have been leveraged by publishers to streamline their inventory and help them identify areas of potential risk as well as value for their clients. In addition, AdSafe is also actively involved with helping publishers defend their content from malicious attacks and was recently featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal about how the company partnered with major suppliers of inventory to protect their businesses from fraud.
By John Ebbert