Commentary Appoints Former Facebook Exec To CEO To Build Out Web3

San Diego-based Permission, which built its business model on getting permission from consumers to access their data, announced the appointment of former Meta executive Thomas Shin to CEO. The user-level data helps to target ads.

Shin will support the company in transitioning to Web3, which he defines as a “whole new world” built on cryptocurrency, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and digital wallets.

“In Web 2.0 we built up social media and mobile digital marketing,” Shin said. “It wasn’t clear we were in 2.0. We just did it.”

With more than 28 years of experience in the digital advertising space, Shin worked in various roles at Meta’s Facebook, IAC/InterActiveCorp’s Ask Jeeves, Yahoo, Digg, and MediaMath. He also spent time at Efficient Frontier, which Adobe acquired in 2011, and worked as a consultant to startups.

Most recently, Shin served as Head of Americas’ Business at Moloco, a startup in the mobile programmatic space, bringing the company to unicorn status during the height of the pandemic, COVID-19. 



Web3 includes first-party data received from consumers by permission, which is important, Shin said. It’s the vision used to build the company.

“It’s important to know the history of the internet and digital, because it’s not just about Facebook, Google, and Amazon,” he said. “You need to know the history to build the future.”

The first search engine Shin used in the 1990s, Infoseek, was founded in 1994 by Steve Kirsch. He worked as a search product manager trying to “takedown” Yahoo, long before “Google got rolling.” Then other search engines included Ask Jeeves, and Altavista.

“At the time, I figured out we could syndicate to, which turned into Overture and then sold to Yahoo,” he said. “Eventually we also syndicated from Google, and that’s how ASK makes money today.”

Search is the first programmatic marketing platform on digital. Google AdWords was the first. Goto was an option system, the first one, and then Google’s founders used the idea to build out its advertising platforms, Shin believes.

When asked to cite the best piece of advice Shin received throughout his career, he said “the most important thing is to treat others with respect,” and not to forget that despite technologies like programmatic, artificial intelligence, and machine learning used to target ads, the business is made-up of people.

“I still keep in touch with all my friends from Yahoo, Ask, Facebook and others along the way,” Shin said. “It’s important. Whatever company I work at it must be at the core.”

Permission Founder and former CEO Charlie Silver will transition to the role of executive chairman and will continue to form strategic financial partnerships to support the development of the Permission network.  

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