Turn on ad blocking and in most cases you’ll have a better user experience, a fact readily acknowledged by Sourcepoint COO and co-founder Brian Kane. Sourcepoint focuses on circumventing ad-blocking software.
But rather than the problem itself, Kane views ad blocking as the surface manifestation of a deeper issue: “The value exchange between publishers and consumers is broken,” he said.
As publishers struggle to monetize their increasingly fragmented audiences, they reach for the handiest object – more banner ads. When that happens, users reach for their handiest object – ad blockers.
According to June data released by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, 47% of US online news consumers screen ads with ad blockers, while 30% said they just outright ignore any advertising they come across. Twenty-nine percent said they actively avoid sites with intrusive advertising.
It’s hard to blame the users. They visit websites for content, not to engage in a battle of wits with an elusive X-out button. But for the content to exist in the first place, publishers need a way to make money.
Kane is very familiar with the monetization challenges facing publishers. After more than nine years at DoubleClick, he stayed on as director of publisher services in the wake of the Google acquisition in 2008, followed by chief operating roles at AdMeld (purchased by Google in 2011) and LiveRail (snapped up by Facebook in 2014).
Sourcepoint, which just raised $10 million in Series A funds in June, is a continuation of that narrative, said Kane, who recently joined the board at video SSP Altitude Digital after serving as an adviser for the last 10 months. Kane has also served as an advisor to MoPub (acquired by Twitter in 2013) and Shiny Ads (acquired by Rubicon in 2014).
Way back in his pre-Google DoubleClick days, Kane saw his “higher calling” as “keeping the Internet free.”
“Ads are what allow publishers to deliver great content to people so they don’t need to take out their credit cards – users viewing ads in return for content,” Kane said. “But we’ve gone a bit awry over the years.”
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