Rubicon Project Buys SiteScout; COO Roah Discusses Acquisition

The Rubicon Project Buys SiteScoutPublisher yield optimizer, Rubicon Project, announced that it has acquired SiteScout, a company whose technology looks to “prevent malicious ads and other dangerous Web content from reaching customers.” Read more.

Craig Roah, COO and Founder of The Rubicon Project, talked about the acquisition and how it will be integrated into the company. Why buy SiteScout in particular?

CR: As we detailed in our manifesto, Principles of a REVVolution, or the ad server is dead, we are committed to offering publishers technology that counteracts the problems created by legacy ad serving technology. We count malware in the group because there is almost nothing in legacy ad serving systems that protects publishers, their advertisers or consumers from malware. In addition, we committed to providing publishers safe, efficient and profitable access to all sources of demand – and technology that protects them from malvertising exploits is a key piece of this platform.

The industry is seeing a massive influx and growing complexity of threats related to malware and compromised Web content. We began to look for the right security partner to help address this growing issue in 2009, evaluating several solutions in this space to complement and strengthen our industry-leading Brand Protection technology platform. In side-by-side tests, in a live production environment with real ad tags on premium websites, SiteScout was hands-down the most effective technology. Their ability to find and prevent malware far exceeded all the other providers.  SiteScout is a true Internet security company. This acquisition will enable us to offer premium publishers the most effective technology platform to address the very real, very dangerous and fast-growing problem of malvertising.

Does SiteScout address malvertising OR malware?

Malicious advertising, or “malvertising,” also referred to commonly as “malware,” is a form of unwanted or malicious software that is distributed through advertising tags served through an unsuspecting publisher’s website, either by embedding bad code into legitimate ads, or by placing fake ads that mimic those of legitimate advertisers, or through social media technologies on a site, like comments, forums and other forms of user generated content, which allow users to create content that is now being used to carry out a wide range of malicious attacks.

SiteScout’s platform serves advertisers and publishers at scale on a 24/7 basis by identifying dangerous new Web-borne threats, including those delivered via ad networks, user-contributed content, and other emerging vectors.

To the Rubicon Project publisher, when will they start to see the benefits of SiteScout and how will it appear in their reporting?

The new comprehensive malware protection powered by SiteScout security is available exclusively to REVV for publishers customers as an extension of the Rubicon Project ad technology platform; the SiteScout malware reporting and other product tools are slated to be available within the REVV platform in the third quarter of 2010.

Any plans to provide reporting to ad networks who buy from Rubicon Project?

We currently offer reporting to our ad network partners – it’s included in REVV for demand, a technology platform that enables demand partners who participate in the REVV Marketplace to execute entirely automated inventory and audience buys while gaining actionable insight into publishers transparency rules and ad quality restrictions. One of the key technology features of the platform includes proprietary creative harvesting and ad quality prevention technologies – allowing ad networks to gain complete insight into any problems that an ad creative or campaign might encounter, then see the specific ad, where it ran and why it’s in violation in a single report. With the report, the ad network is enabled to resolve issues directly within the REVV interface.

How many people will join Rubicon Project form SiteScout? Will they operate separately or be integrated into the team?

Four members of the SiteScout team will be joining the Rubicon Project family. They will be fully integrated into the company and work out of the Rubicon Project’s newly announced Seattle office.

By John Ebbert

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