Three years after it set out to create a digital advertising supply chain platform that set out to ease publishers’ worries, trade association Digital Content Next‘s own private marketplace is now facilitating more than “eight figures” in ad sales, according to the man running the non-profit organization.
Over the last few years, a growing number of premium publishers has become increasingly vocal about their discontent with ad-tech – principally, excessive fees taken by intermediaries and fraud committed by bad actors.
With a mission to restore trust, transparency and safety, TrustX was formed by Digital Content Next in 2016, launched in beta in 2017 and went prime-time in 2018.
Launched in May 2018 on tech ultimately built by Iponweb and Moat, TrustX is a consortium of 35 publishers – like CBS, Meredith, NBC, Vox, Hearst, ESPN – making their inventory available to buyers together with a human-viewable guarantee.
In this video interview with Beet.TV, Kohl says: “The alignment with that mission and that purpose has really enabled us to grow the business, we’re now doing about eight figures, so it’s very exciting.
“The thinking process was, if we are owned by a trade body, if we have no profit motive, no exit strategy motive, we can focus purely on this mission of creating that distinction and restoring that trust.”
In other countries, publishers have been cooperating on ad platforms against common foes for a few years. There are already several cooperative marketplaces operating around the world. Until TrustX, however, the idea was slow to have been embraced in the United States.
Owned by publishers’ non-profit trade association Digital Content Next, which has strongly criticised ad-tech vendors and big digital platforms’ tactics alike, TrustX is a non-profit, B-corp company and runs as a membership organization
Kohel criticizes the “crude methods and blunt instruments” which many ad buyers now use to avoid buying ads against negative or difficult news stories – chief amongst them, “blacklists” through which buy-side platforms allow advertisers to bypass articles tagged with certain keywords.
“In April, there was a fire in France at Notre Dame (Cathedral), and all our publishers that run sports (content) said that their sports ads (sales) went down because Notre Dame (University football team) was running their (recruitment) draft,” Kohl says. “The news environment is having a rough time.”
This video is part of a series of interviews conducted during Advertising Week New York, 2019. This series is co-production of Beet.TV and Advertising Week. The series is sponsored by Roundel, a Target company. Please see more videos from Advertising Week right here.