Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Next Gen Monetization Platform: An interview with Adzerk Founder and CEO, James Avery

The third in a series of articles that highlight companies selected to Demo at the CED Tech Venture Conference 2013.

The web is winning the battle over print when it comes to publishing, but the role and implementation of online advertising, still the primary source of revenue for publishers, continues to evolve.

Adzerk was founded in 2010 by James Avery, who previously founded Zerk Media (sold in 2010), Infozerk, and TekPub.  While running two ad networks, he kept hearing from publishers that they had trouble monetizing their properties. His response was to develop a platform that would squeeze more out of the direct advertising they were selling, better manage their 3rd party ad inventory, and most importantly, build innovative new ad formats.

The result is the Adzerk Platform, an ad management platform used by web publishers and ad networks, which maximizes ad revenue and tightens interactions between marketer and publisher. Even in this nascent stage, the platform serves billions of ad impressions every month, and Adzerk has acquired more than 100 paying customers across thousands of sites.

Adzerk has seen tremendous growth in 2013 with traffic growing over 7x in the first 7 months of the year. In February, the social news website Reddit moved from Google’s DoubleClick product to the Adzerk platform for all of their online advertising. As Reddit is one of the top sites on the internet, this has been a huge boon to Adzerk’s traffic and profile.

“We’re so happy to count Reddit as a customer,” said Avery. “They get tons of traffic from a new generation of users that can be alienated if ad displays aren’t personalized or compelling. We offer the perfect platform for next gen publishers like Reddit.”

It may not be an easy road for Adzerk. After all, they’re competing with the biggest companies in the technology industry – Google, OpenX, AOL, and the like.

“I like competing with them,” says Avery. “We’re smaller, and much more agile. We’re the cool upstart that innovates fast. And while these big guys have resources, it’s hard for them to maneuver.”

It’s not just agility that makes Adzerk a growing concern, it’s the market. There is a burgeoning online publishing industry that’s ripe for new revenue opportunities.

Even though the advertising industry is centered in New York, he’s happy to keep his company headquartered here in North Carolina. He cites what he calls ‘the Cliché’ -- that N.C. offers a unique quality of life where he can raise his family and live on a startup salary.

Avery praises the talent that he finds here. An engineering crunch exists throughout the US, but is especially bad in N.Y. and S.F., where entrepreneurs face salary demands in the high triple digits. It is not only possible to find outstanding engineers in N.C., but you can also afford to pay them.

Adzerk will be demonstrating their ad-bending platform at CED Tech Venture Conference. Come see what’s different, and meet the Adzerk team.

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