An Answer To Brand Safety...Sort Of

Later today, premium "content-style" ad platform Adblade will announce that they have achieved a safety score of 192 (out of 200), as scored by Ad Science's AdSafe Index. As a premium ad platform - one that works exclusively with quality publishers - it makes sense that they would score well. But not every platform or advertiser works exclusively with premium publishers, nor can they. 

Ash Nashed, CEO of Adblade, told RTM Daily that safety has been a priority for the ad platform. "We only work with quality publishers," he said. Among those publishers are NY Daily News, United Press International, Fox News, Hearst Broadcast, and others. That approach has led to what Adblade claims is the highest safety score ever given to an ad platform. However, to me, safety doesn't seem all that difficult to achieve when operating in a sea of premium inventory.

Adblade uses the word "content-style" to describe themselves, so I asked Nashed to clarify what that meant. When he first described it, "content-style" sounded an awful lot like "native" (as if we need more words that have the same meaning). However, Nashed had a good point that made me believe that not all blended advertising is created equal.

To him, "native" simply means that a publisher is "creating content on their site, in their skin, for an advertiser." Basically, if it starts on the publisher side, it's native. "Content-style" is the other way around - it originates with the advertiser.

He said that partnering with premium publishers eliminates much of the "cat and mouse game" of fighting abnormal behavior. But what about everyone else - those that are on open marketers?

"It's really hard to get quality inventory (with RTB). Getting quality inventory at scale in a consistent manner is near impossible (with RTB). By nature, it's typically remnant. Today, [you] might get great inventory. Tomorrow…you don't know," he said.

I asked Nashed to give some safety advice to those on the RTB market as a whole, because simply "partnering with premium publishers" is not a suitable option for everyone. He said that part of the problem is that "there's a lot of money being made on bad quality inventory right now," (by the publishers). Additionally, he argued that when premium inventory is on an open exchange, some campaigns end up getting carried along by that inventory, masking other issues.

Nashed's ultimate first-step advice is exactly what you'd expect it to be from a premium ad platform provider: separate premium inventory from remnant on the exchanges. I find that to only sort of be an answer. In order to do that, wouldn't the industry need a definition of "premium" that was universally accepted?

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