Yoav Arnstein is CEO of Legolas Media, an online display advertising marketplace.
AdExchanger.com: What problem is Legolas solving?
YA: We are looking to address two main challenges:
- The growing publisher concern and friction created by the current methodologies for trading audiences
- The need for a holistic buy-side audience management platform that will provide both audience auditing and the ability to leverage readily available data assets. These assets include the unique buyer historical campaign data as well as the available 3rd party data in the market.
In what category do you see Legolas Media fitting in the ad ecosystem? Any three-letter acronyms appropriate? (such as DSP or SSP)
Legolas is first and foremost a marketplace. As such, for the sake of the customary pigeon holing, we can be defined as an ad exchange albeit a different one.
The trading floor Legolas created is however, using vastly different methodologies than other marketplaces such as Google AdX and Right Media Exchange.
We believe a marketplace should always aim to find a price point that correctly represents that value of the goods traded. As such, and when applied in our industry, it should allow sellers to accurately leverage all relevant attributes of their inventory. We are confident the Legolas marketplace is finding the right balance between the buyers and sellers' needs.
In what key ways is your company different than an ad exchange such as DoubleClick Ad Exchange or Right Media Exchange?
In several ways: A. It is more direct and transparent B. the methodologies for trading are different, price and spend are set up front and there is no buy-side bidding (or real-time bidding for that matter) C. It allows for better forecasting of reach and frequency against the specific audience segment traded D. It is allowing the seller to leverage more effectively ad products, ad format and other attributes such as exclusive reach E. it is providing the buyer with a controlled, safe and segregated environment for trading.
How do you define the rich media which Legolas is addressing? Couldn't a larger ad exchange, maybe DoubleClick Ad Exchange, provide functionality to allow for buying and selling of rich media?
As mentioned above, one of the key differentiator of the marketplace, stemming from the technology, the mode of integration with publisher and the trading methodologies is the fact there are no restriction on ad products or ad formats sold by the publisher. As such, rich media format are integral to the marketplace and we are encouraging both buyers and seller in the marketplace to deploy them as we see it is helping both parties in generating returns.
Is the product live today? What is the key target market for Legolas Media for the buy and sell sides?
Our audience management platform has been live since late last year. The marketplace, in its initial form, is live since April this year. Exciting enhancements to both will be released through the next 3 months. We are currently focusing on the large buying agencies and all publishers that provide a premium and brand safe inventory. As liquidity in the marketplace is increasing, we will be able to address smaller buyers.
Do you have a product strategy around data? A data exchange, perhaps?
We are currently working with great data partners. Our solutions are looking to provide buyers more exposure to effective data and by that serve both them and the data providers well. As to the exchange question, if we will believe there is a need for a new methodology for trading data (mostly data that is relevant to mid and top funnel marketing activities), and be convinced we can address such a need, we will consider developing it. I feel more experience is needed with regards to usage and pricing of this type of data, but I can see this happening very quickly.
How important is real-time buying and selling? Is there a real-time bidded aspect to Legolas' offering?
We all agree it is about ROI and effective marketing. Real-time buying makes sense when the marketing problem can be represented using one or series of equations that machines can solve. We feel that there will always be demand for solving such marketing problems. Specifically, I feel real-time buying is helping address audience, price and frequency (recency to some extent). For many marketing activities, we believe there are alternative trading methods to address these issues and the Legolas marketplace is definitely aiming to do so. In other words, the Legolas marketplace doesn't support real-time buying and selling at this time as it is not as crucial for our clients at this point.
How is your company funded? Any plans you can share here?
We are backed by Greylock partners who provided the initial support at the end of 2009 and Blumberg Capital. We are confident we have the required resources and support to achieve the goals we set forth.
What milestones would you like to have seen Legolas Media accomplish a
year from now?
Two of them: First, have a significant amount of buyers and sellers that are happy with the returns the marketplace delivered. Second, see the industry acknowledging that Legolas introduced an innovative and alternative methods for trading audiences that are viable to the development of the eco system.