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Behavioral Targeting with AlmondNet CEO Roy Shkedi

Posted on 4.21.2008

Website Magazine contributor Dante Monteverde discusses behavioral targeting with AlmondNet CEO Roy Shkedi.

WM: Give us the bare bones – how do you define BT?
AlmondNet defines BT as enabling Internet users to see relevant, privacy-sensitive ads wherever they go. Basically, delivered ads are based on Internet users’ recently demonstrated purchase-intent behavior.

Where did the need for AlmondNet materialize?
We recognized that the Internet advertising market was inefficient. Most advertising inventory is unsold or sold for very low rates, and moreover, most delivered ads are untargeted. We saw a solution. By enabling the delivery of targeted ads to consumers wherever they go, we help all online constituencies--- consumer see relevant, privacy-sensitive ads, data providers receive incremental revenue, publishers sell their ad space for a higher price, advertisers reach their target audience.

What are the top three factors that make AlmondNet different from your competitors?
1) Largest aggregator and distributor of data online;
2) Focused on purchase-intent data that delivers conversions for advertisers;
3) Pro-active approach to privacy

What are “Post-Search” ads and how do they benefit consumers, advertisers and media owners?
Post-search ads are behaviorally-targeted ads delivered to consumers wherever they go based on their recently conducted search or demonstrable purchase-intent behavior. Consumers benefit from relevant, privacy-sensitive ads wherever they go, instead of irrelevant ads. Advertisers reach a target audience that is in purchasing mode, wherever that audience goes, for a lower price than on search engine pages and with minimal clutter and competition from competing advertisers. Media-owners receive a higher price for their inventory, since they are able to deliver targeted ads for a reasonable price instead of delivering lower-priced run of site ads or no sold ads at all.

Behavioral Targeting advertising often has negative connotations; how does AlmondNet allay privacy concerns?
We allay privacy concerns on a few different fronts. First, AlmondNet is a member of three self-regulatory organizations (Network Advertising Initiative, Truste, Internet Advertising Bureau) and exceeds the privacy principles adopted by each of them. We feel it’s important for companies like us to be ingrained within these groups.

We also uphold more than a few privacy polices internally. We do not collect personally-identifiable information. We use non-persistent cookies that expire after 60 days. And, AlmondNet does not permit its media owner partners to use AlmondNet data for more than 30 days OR to link it with personally-identifiable information of any kind.

We also have a privacy officer that audits the privacy policies of all data provider partners and requires insertion of the NAI consumer opt-out and other policy modifications prior to integration. AlmondNet requires all of its partner data providers to insert an NAI opt-out link in the privacy policy of all sites where consumer data is collected.

We’ve always taken a pro-active approach to privacy. For example, AlmondNet was the first company to call for an industry-wide “opt-out within every behaviorally-targeted” banner.

Are there any challenges to deploying your technology correctly?
Integration with AlmondNet is seamless for data providers and media-owners.

How do you emphasize privacy to new partners?
We require all data provider partners to sign a contract verifying the following:
-They will not pass personally-identifiable information to AlmondNet;
-They will amend their privacy policy according to AlmondNet recommendations;
-They will insert an opt-out link in their privacy policy

We also require all data distributors to sign a contract verifying that:
-They will post an appropriate website privacy policy;
-They will not merge AlmondNet data with personally-identifiable information;
-They will not use AlmondNet data for more than 30 days;

What do you see as a next big trend in BT in the next five or ten years?
Behaviorally-targeted and other data-driven ads will become commonplace (i.e. the majority of delivered ads online) as they are the only solution for monetizing content that is difficult to monetize via contextual means.

Are there are any other trends in BT that you feel are important to website owners?
We’d like to emphasize to website owners that the behavior of their users within their site is valuable information that they should be monetizing outside their site via partnerships with companies such as AlmondNet. No website should allow any ad network or other company to drop cookies on its users within its website and use that information elsewhere without compensating the website. Websites spend lots of money to drive traffic to their sites. It is time they started leveraging the behavior of their site visitors when those site visitors are off their sites--- 99% of their time!


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