TACODA's New Captain Charts The Course

by , Nov 16, 2007, 3:15 PM
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Since finalizing its sale to AOL in recent months, TACODA's deck chairs have shuffled considerable. First, CEO Curt Viebranz got tapped to run the new AOL Platform A, which pulls together the company's many ad technologies and networks. More recently, TACODA Chair Dave Morgan became AOL's vice president for global advertising strategy. And now Daniel Jaye, who himself just joined TACODA last spring, becomes the company's new president. While new to TACODA, Jaye is not new to behavioral targeting. As the founder of Engage in 1995, he helped pioneer targeting against anonymous user profiles. In his first interview since taking the post, Jaye tells us how the TACODA/AOL integration will evolve.

Behavioral Insider: The immediate changes at TACODA seem to have been a lot of staff shifting. Who is going where?

Daniel Jaye:
The team has a lot of experience and I think AOL rightly saw at the beginning of the acquisition a lot of talent within TACODA that could help AOL and Platform A with its broader mission and strategy to pursue an advertising-focused business model. Dave is a visionary and has a perspective that AOL understood could really help them execute on that strategy, so he accepted the role to help guide global ad strategy. Similarly Curt has a tremendous amount of experience in digital media but is also unique because he brings 17 years of experience in traditional and emerging media at Time Warner and HBO. Again, that was an opportunity that AOL saw to leverage some of our talent to execute on a broader strategy and to help realize TACODA's synergies with AOL and Platform A that we all hope for.

Behavioral Insider: Explain where TACODA now fits into the structure of AOL.

Jaye:
At a high level we know that AOL is focused on taking what is arguably the world's most engaged community and extending that across the more fragmented consumer advertising market that has been evolving the last few years. And so AOL has made it very clear that network advertising is going to be a critical part of the future. AOL is fortunate in having Ad,.com on one side, with the largest advertising network and tremendous reach and scope and scale and tremendous technology for optimizing performance of a wide variety of offers and campaigns. At the same time our role in that is to be the behavioral targeting engine for AOL overall, platform A overall, as well as dramatically expanding our network of premium sites focused on brand advertising opportunities.

Behavioral Insider: So, it is TACODA's BT technology that will be deployed across those platforms, including Ad.com?

Jaye:
Our technology strategy is to leverage our behavioral technology across the AOL platform of businesses. The exact time frame and method for doing that is at this time still being developed. What we do know is that it will be done with full respect and compliance with our relationships with premium publishers. So our premium publishers have agreed to share data with TACODA and we won't be sharing data with any other entity within AOL without the explicit permission, opt-in if you will, from those publishers. So that will be a precedent. The second thing is, we already made announcements [regarding] the  Consumer Choice initiative for communicating a notice to consumers in a very active way about their privacy rights and options.

Behavioral Insider: Have day-to-day operations or locations changed much since the deal?

Jaye:
No, actually. There really hasn't been any change. That is one of the nice things we expected, based on how AOL has treated acquisitions in the past. They tended to enable them to succeed in a faster broader way without dramatically modifying their essential value proposition and mission. We do treat AOL as a very important publisher in our network. That is exactly how it was implemented.

Behavioral Insider: How does this acquisition help your existing partners?

Jaye
: First of all, they are going to get larger checks from us every month, because the AOL relationship brings us into new advertiser opportunities. The AOL inventory enables us to deliver more ads, and for every ad that we deliver that was targeted using the anonymous data that the publisher provided, we of course compensate the publisher. So it is really an accelerator for both the monetization and the yield improvement we offer publishers.

Behavioral Insider: Did you lose any publisher who decided you were purchased by a direct competitor?

Jaye:
No, actually. It has been very gratifying to see how pretty much universally all of the publishers in the network that we've talked to directly have looked at this as a positive effort. The term coopetition is greatly overused, but the fact of the matter is that no one is in a vacuum. It is a very fragmented audience. The group that is partnering with you today also may be the source of the traffic in the future. For the major advertisers it is all about scale.

Behavioral Insider: What new products does this acquisition move you into?  

Jaye:
It creates an accelerant for our plans to deliver abilities for publisher partners to leverage our inventory and our reporting and analytic capabilities. We will have some very interesting announcements in that area in the coming months.

Behavioral Insider: When you look out on the rest of the field in BT, is consolidation necessary to compete?

Jaye:
I do think that the behavioral targeting term is very broadly used. In many ways you look around and pretty much everyone says we have a BT solution. I think that what you will see is that the industry is going through some degree of consolidation as companies who have strong branded audiences realize that they need to participate in networks to be able to reach their audiences in a more deliberate and managed ways. Some of them will do that through consolidation and some through partnership.

Behavioral Insider: What is the status of Revenue Science at AOL?

Jaye:
Revenue Science is a valuable partner to AOL. At this time, AOL is using their technology and over time AOL will work with TACODA and participate as a publisher, so we are building behavioral audience that are enriching AOL as well as the rest of our network data. And over time AOL will start to leverage audiences and technologies from TACODA as well. At that time, some time in the future, I am sure AOL will evaluate the relative utility of each of the solutions deployed and adjust appropriately. But at this time Revenue Science is still a vendor to AOL.

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