Things have been moving so quickly around here lately, that we forgot to stop and celebrate an important
milestone – the Rubicon Project’s 4th birthday!
On May 1, 2007 the Rubicon Project launched with one lofty goal in mind – to automate the buying and selling across the $65 billion global online advertising industry. Beginning with a 2,000 square foot office, one bathroom and about 10 employees…I think it’s safe to say that our team has come a long way!
Here we are celebrating our fourth birthday in a time when the industry continues to push the limits on innovation and display advertising is expected to reach $30 billion in 2012 (eMarketer). Along with our partners and customers, we’re on our way to accomplishing the mission we set out to conquer. We couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity that lies ahead for the advertising ecosystem.
Of course, we’d like to take a moment to thank our 450+ premium publisher customers for their continued support. The product developments we’ve made over the years would not have been possible without your insight, feedback and trust in our team. It’s because of you that the REVV platform has reached 80+ billion ad transactions per month and 500+ billion real-time bids per quarter.
And last but certainly not least, thank you to all 250 Rubicon team members, across 8 offices in 5 countries. It’s your hard work, devotion and significant contributions that make Rubicon the leading advertising technology company.
Happy Birthday to our team and thank you to our customers for believing in us! Here’s to many more….
REVV, Real-time bidding, REVV Marketplace … AdCheq? We’re all familiar with the aforementioned pieces of the Rubicon Project puzzle. AdCheq, on the other hand, isn’t a technology we’ve often discussed externally, but it plays a pivotal role in how REVV manages and facilitates publishers’ advertiser blocklists. Adcheq captures, identifies and, with the help of our team of experts, classifies new ad creatives that are served into the REVV platform against 104 industries and 10 ad quality categories (including Adult/Provocative, Shaky/Flashy, Belly Fat, etc.). In addition, AdCheq enables REVV to develop and maintain advertiser profiles within the platform – all necessary for protecting publishers’ direct sales channels, user experience and brands.
How does AdCheq fit in to the REVV platform for publishers? First, publishers define their business rules around selling their inventory through sales channels – controls including blocklists, geographic rights, transparency settings and pricing floors, for example. Once those rules are set, the REVV brand protection toolset scans, harvests and classifies all creatives that run through the platform – this is where AdCheq comes in.
How does AdCheq work? The process begins when ad creatives show up for the first time within an ad tag. Each new creative, or media file is individually labeled. AdCheq has enabled some 450,000 media files to be classified since September 2010. When necessary, ads are marked with ad quality categories, such as Shaky/Flashy or Belly Fat. When publishers want to block ads with certain content and/or from advertisers from running on their site(s), the accurate labeling and flagging of the ads in AdCheq is crucial. With over 2,000 new ads running through the REVV platform every day, AdCheq ensures unwanted ads – like belly fat ads don’t “squeeze” their way through.
Once an ad has been labeled, it goes through the verification process. In this step, each ad is reviewed twice and classified using AdCheq by real live humans working for the Rubicon Project from our HQ in Los Angeles, as well as from locations around the world. Then our Editorial/Ad Quality Team goes through these labeling options to choose the best one, using REVV’s ad quality standards as a guide. Accuracy and relevance are key here – it is mission critical to capture and identify all the information about each ad correctly to ensure that publishers do not see ads they’ve blocked, for any reason, on their sites.
There are approximately 10,000 advertisers with approved profiles in the AdCheq system, with hundreds getting added each week. These advertisers that are pulled from tags across the REVV platform have detailed profiles in AdCheq that include pertinent information, such as the website URL, company logo, all past-submitted media files (creatives) and industries in which the advertiser does business. Once all of this information is cataloged, the advertiser becomes an approved advertiser. From this point forward, all creatives are associated in the system with the advertiser they represent, along with all the other classification information about the creative itself.
Once all the information about the creative and the associated is designated with AdCheq, that data is stored within the REVV Helix database, which enables ongoing ad monitoring, filtering and blocking. It is because of the classification powered by AdCheq that publishers using REVV can limit or prevent the appearance of specific advertisers, industries, subsidiaries and holding companies – along with ad quality types, sizes, etc. – to avoid conflict with their direct sales teams’ efforts and ensure the publisher’s desired user experience.
Today, AdCheq is one of the many internal tools used at the Rubicon Project to manage brand safety issues for publishers. With continued innovation, there are plans in our current product roadmap to release AdCheq for direct use by publishers in the near future. Stay tuned for more updates on this product and many other safety and security product innovations in the coming months.
Last week our CEO, Frank Addante, presented at Digiday’s Digital Publishing Summit in Dear Valley, Utah. The presentation, titled “Realizing the True Value of Digital Experiences” was focused on elevating the conversation among the advertising ecosystem and encourage everyone to start thinking in a new way. He proposed to the room that we should all start working together instead of against each other to capture a larger percentage of the $200B waiting to be claimed by the industry.
Posted below is Frank’s presentation, along with the key highlights. You can read Frank’s full post blog post, including his advise on working with competitors, on his Founder’s blog.
We encourage everyone to get involved in the conversation around realizing the value of the true digital experience. You can participate on twitter by following Rubicon (@RubiconProject) or Frank (@FrankAddante).
Something’s wrong: consumers are valued at 10X the rates when reading the same article in the NY Times print newspaper vs. shifting their attention 90 degrees to their computer reading the exact same article online at the exact same point in time
Digital experiences are getting richer: started with AOL walled garden of content, World-Wide-Web came along and brought a flurry of content from premium websites, social networking connected everyone and inspired user generated content, video brings emotion and dimension and now with tablets we can hold the Internet in our hands (just like a newspaper)
But, we’re not capturing the increased value (rates/value are still the same as they were 10 yrs. ago)
Publishers are over-reacting: they aren’t able to capture value so they’re throwing up pay-walls – blocking consumers from content and shifting burden to them to monetize it (opposite of the Internet promise of content access), they fire ad networks because of concern about pricing, they strip their valuable brands out of the market when selling through channels (concerns over channel conflict) and block data because of privacy concerns
Advertisers are reacting too: they’re holding back billions of $$ from the market because they want the exact opposite – transparency, leverage data, harness the innovation from over $1BN that was invested in ad technology in 2010 alone, and they need efficiency (it costs 3X as much to buy online vs. offline) – doesn’t make any sense in a tech driven environment!
Lastly, sorry to say it – but the way we sell media is bullshit! We’re using tactics from the 1950′s – the “mad men” martini lunch days. The best dinner wins, not always the best value or the best technology
If this continues: lower revenues will lead to lower quality content which will attract lower quality audiences which will eventually be commoditized (and yes, traded like pork bellies) which will only lead to lower revenues and so on and so forth…
The quality content business could go out of business.
Lots of talk in the industry (committees, forums, working groups, etc.) — but no action!
Instead: energy focused on competing with each other, like rats eating at the last piece of pie (like it’s the last dollar in the market)
But, there’s a much bigger pie available (5X as much $$ – $200BN)
We at the Rubicon Project propose a new way forward: work together instead of against each other
We take the term “project” in our name very seriously. We’ve been working from day one to help the industry and the ecosystem realize the true value of digital experiences. We’ve been committed to efficiency, transparency, an open market and harnessing and organizing the collective innovation and value that’s been created in this market — this from day one.
Now, we’d like to invite everyone to join the project…
By everyone, we really mean everyone: our 450 customers, 600+ ad networks/exchanges/DSPs who participate in the REVV Marketplace, our smaller competitors (AdMeld, Pubmatic) – we’d be foolish to think we can solve every problem in this market alone - and the big giants in the space (Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!, etc.) Yes, the big guys have billions of $$ being spent with them and you probably think you can go at it alone… But, if we can all come together to solve this problem, there are billions more waiting for us.
What if we took all of the energy we spend working against each other and instead worked together? What if we:
create an open market
make it easy for advertisers to buy (easier than broadcast and print)
deliver value to the consumer (through advertising)
unlock the benefits of data; safely
embrace privacy and put it in the hands of the consumer (where it belongs!)
provide a risk-free environment where publishers are safe to leverage the billions of dollars that they’ve collectively invested into their brands
Let’s get connected! Work together to solve these problems. Because… if we can, there are over $200BN more dollars waiting for us!
Why don’t we see more women on stage? This is the common question that hits twitter feeds and inspires discussion in tradeshow halls after every large ad technology event. And I think it’s a fair question. However, instead of adding to the noise we decided to do something about it. The ad technology ecosystem is full of smart, funny, powerful, thought-provoking women. It’s time to shed some light on these individuals.
Event planners, speaking proposal judges, panel committee members: no more excuses! This dossier is full of women in the ad technology world who are a force to be reckoned with and are fully capable holding their own at events and on stage. We hope you’ll find this dossier to be a useful go-to resource, and as a result will start to introduce new faces and voices to tradeshow agendas.
Of course, there are plenty of woman that have not been included in this first iteration. We consider this dossier a living document and welcome recommendations on equally brilliant woman to be added to the list. If you’d like to see someone added, feel free to send an email to Rachel@rubiconproject.com . Last but not least, if you have a speaking opportunity for a woman in this dossier and would like an introduction – feel free to reach out.
Looking forward to a year full of innovation, debate and maybe even a few showdowns.
Things are buzzing here at the Rubicon Project. It’s been about two weeks since completing our FAN acquisition and the two teams are integrating seamlessly (well, except for the extra long line at the espresso machine). In our last blog post, we mentioned that the Rubicon Project achieved profitability in October. This is a milestone that the team is very proud of. Not only did we achieve profitability, but we achieved it almost a full quarter ahead of plan. Further, profitability was achieved outside any revenues from FAN.
Reaching this turning point deserves a nod to the publishers leveraging our REVV platform. Our business model is simple – we only make money if the publisher is making money. As such, reaching profitability is a direct result of the success publishers have achieved on the platform. And we would be remise to not thank all 350+ publishers who continue to trust our technology and team – so, THANK YOU!
It’s been a wild ride. the Rubicon Project has attained great scale in its short life. We work with over 600 ad networks, 350+ premium publishers, 25 DSPs and 5 exchanges. Our ad optimization technology reaches 550 million unique users which enables us to process 60 billion transactions each month. All of this volume generates over $100 million in revenue annually. We project that this will grow to $200 million in 2011.
Looking to the future, we have embraced Real Time Bidding. While we have only had the technology in place for 3 months, the Rubicon Project will process 500 billion real time bids this quarter. A recent enhancement to our RTB engine made during our last company hack day has resulted in a 25% increase in RTB revenue. Our investment in RTB will continue to pay dividends as more publishers take advantage of the opportunities that this technology presents. We are building on our past successes while continuing to invest in the future. It’s truly an exciting time to be at the Rubicon Project.
First stop … Sonoma, California for the AdMonsters US Publisher Forum on August 15-18! Please be sure to look for Ward Flock, Director of Publisher Development and Tom Weedon, VP of Publisher Services, in their black and red Rubicon gear. Ward and Tom are excited to mingle with the group on Sunday night, learn more about Publisher’s challenges in the market and share some of the industry trends we have seen in 2010. Of course, you’ll also find them at Monday night’s cocktail hour and dinner. Sonoma here we come!
Next up … a nonstop September! First things first, hallo Germany! Our international team will be hitting the conference floor at DMEXCO in Germany on September 15-16. You’ll find us in booth space G-053 with plenty of collateral surrounding our technology, products & services. In addition to this, our VP and GM of International, Jay Stevens, will be presenting a Rubicon Project overview and showcasing our award winning yield optimization platform, REVV.
Following DMEXCO, our international team will make the trek back to London for ad:tech UK. On September 22nd at 10:30am, don’t miss Ben Trenda, VP of US Demand, present “Get Real: How RTB and DSPs Impact the Online Advertising Industry.” Ben and team will also be working the conference floor – meeting and mingling with industry leaders interested in learning more about the Rubicon Project (and of course, sharing a few pints of beer with current customers and partners).
Just when you thought we couldn’t possibly be traveling anywhere else in September, guess again. Off to New York Advertising Week we go! You’ll find a few Rubicon Project team members at IAB MIXX on September 27th & 28th – look for the black shirts around booth #118. Last, but certainly not least, we’ll be in the fine presence of AdMonsters once again at the OPS Forum on September 30th. It is here that our very own, Josh Wexler, will be introducing Gordon McLeod, President of The Wall Street Journal Digital Network. Although this is the first OPS event AdMonsters has put on, we are sure it is going to be a success and look forward to seeing our industry peers in attendance. Rumor has it the tickets for this event will increase by September 1st, so be sure to register TODAY!
If you’ll be attending any of these events and are interested in setting up a meeting with a Rubicon Project team member, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
How do you summarize an entire year at the Rubicon Project? It’s a combination of new technologies, new customers, new partners, new team members, new programs, new initiatives, and a lot of great inspiration and creativity. 2009 proved to be a phenomenal year for our company, we practically doubled the size of our team, added 3 new offices, and continued to focus on developing a strong and innovative company culture. It has always been our goal to create an “experience” not a “job,” and 2009 proved to be the year of excitement and focus. Some areas of change and impact that we are proud of include:
Community outreach and service is something that is bred into the DNA of our company and all of the team members we hire. We recognize how fortunate we are, and are committed to giving back to our local community. In 2009, we expanded from local community impact to global community impact. After opening offices in New York, London, and Sydney, we have been able to effect change not only in Los Angeles but internationally as well. Some groups we have volunteered or supported in the last year include: the Midnight Mission (LA), LA’s Best After School Program (LA), Heal the Bay (LA), Tree People (LA), Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen (NYC), Morgan Stanely Children’s Hospital (NYC), City Meals on Wheels (NYC), Ted Knoff Foundation (SYDNEY), Community Chest (HONG KONG), Toys for Tots (US), NY Cares Coat Drive (NYC), Coach ART (LA), and the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation (US).
We firmly believe in empowering our team members to take on as much industry knowledge and career skills as possible. The continuation of our Rubicon University program, which takes internal team members who are experts in certain fields and puts them in front of our team-at-large to be a “professor” of sorts, continued to be a big success. This year, the company also invested in a “Rubicon Library”, which houses books (team members make suggestions!) focused on improving management skills, how to inspire others, how to effect change, or how to reach your full potential.
In addition, we also saw the creation of Rubicon Project sports teams, which provided some tough competition and a lot of fun memories. Active in the areas of softball, basketball, kickball, tennis, and soccer, the Rubicon Project is proud that our team members take any opportunity to be athletic, have fun, and forge friendships that aren’t just about “business”. None of our teams took home a league championship but that is definitely part of our goals for 2010!
Team Development and Bonding:
As a company, we devote resources to providing each manager with a budget for creating and planning team bonding events. It is important to us that our team members feel appreciated and connected to one another, and these events tend to have 100% participation. Whether it’s taking the team out for bowling, a nice dinner, or on a sailing adventure, our team knows what it is like to connect with other team members outside of “work.”
Cheers to 2009, and especially to our wonderful team members, who are the heart and soul of this organization. After looking back at the past year, I think we are all excited for what we will accomplish in 2010!
Welcome to our blog!
We have a saying at Rubicon:
“Communication makes or breaks relationships.”
As a company, we devote time and effort in making communication a priority – for our customers, partners and our team. Each blog features the voices of our team members, focusing on the topics they are most passionate about.
Our entries document the lessons we’re learning and perspectives on our industry. We hope you enjoy and as always, please feel free to give us feedback. We’d love to hear from you!