Lotame, an online advertising marketing technology company, announced yesterday that it had taken $11 million in Series C funding from all of the company's existing investors including Hillcrest, Battery Ventures, and Pinnacle Ventures. Read the release.
Lotame CEO Andy Monfried discussed what Lotame is going to do with all that cash as well, the data management platform business and the company's views on recent machinations around self-regulation and Do-Not Track list.
AdExchanger.com: What will you use the $11 million for? Tech development, feet in the street...?
AM: The bulk of the additional funding will be used to expand the engineering team responsible for enhancing the capabilities of our data management platform; the sales and marketing teams responsible for bringing our platform and media solutions to the market; and the operations teams responsible for delivering outstanding results for both advertiser and publisher clients.
Have you fully transitioned from being an ad network to being a sell-side-focused data management platform? What ad network "roots" remain - still a part of ComScore's ad network list, for example?
We have fully transitioned to having a focused, well-resourced DMP team and offering. At the same time, we will continue to have a focused and well-resourced media team and offering. Our media team will be a leading "customer" of the platform. The team will use the data platform in combination with proven delivery, optimization and analytics functions to produce exceptional campaign outcomes for our branded advertiser clients. The two arms of our business will be distinct, with each enhancing the other. We believe the only way to understand the true value of data is to actually use it. Our ongoing experience in campaign delivery and optimization will inform the market-leading features, analytics and data packages we build into our platform. Our platform will serve as the ongoing foundation for our advertising solutions.
You've taken the position that you're leading the way around self-regulation. Why? Could you develop a product offering similar to or in competition with Better Advertising?
We take very seriously the need to provide consumers transparency and choice in relation to our collection and use of consumer data. We are ultimately in the consumer-choice business. As part of that business, we strive to help consumers gain the benefits not only of the services we provide (through more relevant and compelling advertising and content), but also of the general privacy options and protections available to them. To back up our commitment in this area, we have both developed and promoted some of our own privacy tools for consumers (such as the Lotame Preferences Manager) and embraced self-regulatory and voluntary programs offering more centralized privacy management tools, such as the industry’s new central Consumer Choice page (www.aboutads.info) and the Open Data Partnership project announced earlier today. We are partners with Better Advertising and plan to continue to collaborate, not compete, with them.
What's your view on the Federal Trade Commission's recommendation regarding a Do-Not-Track list?
Lotame will continue to take a progressive stance in supporting consumer needs in the digital marketing ecosystem and adopting and promoting tools that meet these needs – while favoring innovations from industry, entrepreneurs and other independent players over legislative or regulatory solutions. Though well-intended, the latter (including the FTC's recent endorsement of a Do-Not-Track mechanism) are almost certain to fail in keeping up with the rapid pace of change in Internet technologies, services and business models. It will (ironically) instead likely serve to constrain consumer choices – not only in managing their privacy online, but in preserving their access to the many advertising-supported Internet products and services on which they depend. For more regarding our views on DNT, please see the following blog post: http://www.lotame.com/2010/12/2634/.
What has been a key driver in the data management platform wave? Why are they a necessity?
Publishers recognize the need to leverage and enable the value of their first-party data beyond simply buying third-party data. Their own core audience data is much more valuable to them than someone else's third-party data. Given the fact that a publisher's most valuable asset is its consumer base, DMPs are a necessity: They enable for publishers to effectively segment, understand and monetize that consumer base.