NYIAX And Rebel AI Team Up To Support A Blockchain Ad Model

The blockchain-based advertising marketplace NYIAX on Friday announced new leadership appointments and a partnership with Rebel AI, another blockchain ad tech startup, as it looks to scale.

Bill Wise, the CEO of Mediaocean, has gone from a NYIAX adviser to executive chairman of the board and Richard Bush, formerly the company product chief, is being elevated to president. He replaces and will report to Vice Chairwoman Carolina Abenante, who had been acting as president in recent months.

There’s a race on among blockchain advertising startups to gain a foothold with ad buyers and publishers, and ad tech stalwarts like Wise and Bush, who is the former general manager of publisher solutions at the bidding technology company Iponweb, make the company a sound choice for blockchain test budgets, said Vin Paolozzi, executive VP of innovation for the IPG agency group Magna Global.

The NYIAX ad marketplace, built in partnership with Nasdaq and licensing its exchange technology, enables buyers and publishers to trade media futures – guaranteed inventory contracts – on a blockchain ledger, improving budget reconciliation issues that have plagued the digital media supply chain.

NYIAX’s partnership with Rebel AI, a provider of blockchain technology to authenticate and deliver online ads, is necessary because “NYIAX’s guaranteed contract marketplace in and of itself does not provide for delivery or the act of verification,” said Ben Feldman, NYIAX’s senior VP of strategy and innovation.

Online ad verification solutions on the market “are either probabilistic or based on only advertising exchange data,” said Manny Puentes, Rebel AI’s founder and CEO.

But even when an advertiser is using online verification technology like Moat, Integral Ad Science or DoubleVerify, buyers and sellers often don’t align. That can lead to painful reconciliation issues as publishers claim credit for campaigns and brands increasingly demand make-goods or refuse payment if they suspect fraud or can’t confirm media placements.

Online ad reconciliation errors have become a critical industry issue, since they expose ad tech intermediaries to lawsuits and limit the cash available for R&D (or payroll) when exchanges are required to pay publishers immediately for inventory but don’t get paid by the brand or agency for weeks or months – or at all, if discrepancies arise.

The reconciliation issue falls hardest on the programmatic ecosystem, said Avery Durnan, VaynerMedia’s VP of media platforms, who joined the agency this year from Google’s DoubleClick and is testing NYIAX and other blockchain solutions. Google and Facebook demand payment within 30 days or a brand’s account on the platform is shut down, so buyers prioritize those payments over ad tech vendors, where the client has much more leverage, she said.

Big-spending agencies have consolidated budgets with platforms like Google and The Trade Desk, she said, “to have all the payments in one place and thus improve reconciliation.”

The pharmaceutical giant Bayer, for example, is testing blockchain-based digital advertising with another startup, Amino Payments, by offering prompt and guaranteed payment as a “carrot” to ad tech vendors to drive adoption, Jeffrey Rasp, Bayer’s US consumer health group director of digital strategy, told AdExchanger earlier this year.

Heritage brands like IBM, Bayer and Tyson Foods are digging into blockchain technology and catalyzing action within agencies and tech platforms.

“If we earmark $100,000 from a brand for publishers, we want to make sure that’s going primarily to publishers and not to opaque fees,” Durnan said, adding that sophisticated brands are now demanding accountability and even basing agency account decisions on verification efforts.

Paolozzi said questions about blockchain advertising technology have become common for IPG Mediabrands clients.

As an agency, he said, “it is critical for us to be identifying and bringing them those new and emerging opportunities.”

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