Display Ads Hit The Wall - A Firewall: New System Prevents Brands From Unsavory Adjacencies
The breakthrough comes as interest in online advertising security grows on Madison Avenue, and as a legion of developers race forward with solutions to monitor and protect advertisers from showing up in the wrong places.
But unlike most of the solutions launched to date, which simply identify which pages are inappropriate for brand's ads to appear on, the new firewall actually prevents those ads from ever being served if the pages don't meet its criteria for acceptability.
The firewall is the latest version of a suite of products AdSafe plans to launch to give advertisers and agencies control over how, when and where their ads show up online, and they are all based by tagging ads with content ratings that either identify or report inappropriate content to advertisers or agencies, or in the case of the new firewall, prevent their ads from ever running adjacent to it.
"Advertisers have the control," says Helene Monat, president and a founder of AdSafe, which launched in April, and is competing with a wide range of entrepreneurs that have begun flooding Madison Avenue with solutions as brand advertising begins showing up in questionable places, or with questionable results.
Among other things, hackers and cyber criminals have begun using either fake ads mimicking actual brand ads, or inserting them via fake insertion orders by posing as legitimate advertising agencies, that have launched malware attacks that could hurt a brand's and/or publisher's reputation. While AdSafe's current systems enable advertisers and agencies to identify publishers' pages that have malware code on them, they currently are not able to determine whether the ads they are serving have such code embedded in them, but the company says it is working on a solution for that, which will be introduced early next year.
The new products are being developed by an ad savvy management team, as well as a board of advisors that includes some knowledgeable advertising and media industry vets, including Jon Mandel, a former top executive at Nielsen and WPP Group; cable TV pioneer Geraldine Laybourne; former Madison Avenue research czar Joe Plummer; and former Wal-mart and DaimlerChrysler marketing executive Julie Roehm.
The core of AdSafe's system is it's content ratings, says Monat, which utilizes a combination of state-of-the-art technology, including a learning algorithm, as well as "human ratings" including a panel of 10,000 consumer content raters that rate and rank Web pages for a range of subjects ranging from sexual material to hate speech, as well as criteria that are specific and subjective to a particular brand's needs.
AdSafe would not disclose what companies are utilizing the new firewall, but said they include "10 of the top 25" online advertising networks, and at least one of the major advertising agency holding companies.