Q&A with Philip Kaplan on AdBrite’s funding round, and more

1433548235_a85a9ced31_m.jpgWe were headed over to AdBrite‘s offices to chat with founder Philip Kaplan earlier today, when the news got out that the ad network had raised a $23 million round of funding (our coverage).

Kaplan has been involved with a number of companies going back as far as the last dot-com bubble, and besides AdBrite is best known for a site called FuckedCompany, that covered the demise of many startups in that era.

The San Francisco company traces its origins back to 2002, when it offered a primitive way for web site publishers to find advertisers through “your ad here” buttons they could put on their sites. More from Kaplan, below:

VentureBeat: Why did you start AdBrite?

Philip Kaplan: I was running a number of different content-based websites, and found that there was no automated way to sell ad space to my visitors. AdBrite was originally built to be a solution to this problem, and has grown into an ad marketplace with more than 50,000 websites.

VB: Why did you raise this round?

PK:  Funds will be used to increase capacity, improve targeting quality, develop new ventures, and provide international expansion.

VB: Why did you go with a hedge fund like Artis?

PK: Artis was an investor from our Series B, and all of our previous investors (including Sequoia and Artis) participated in this round of Series C funding. We choose investors based on their experience, the value and relationships they bring, their reputation, and other criteria.

VB: What sets AdBrite apart from the rest?

PK: For publishers, AdBrite provides more ways to monetize than any other ad network. In addition to text ads and banner ads, AdBrite can display full page ads, inline ads, ads in videos (InVideo), and ads in images (BritePic). Furthermore, AdBrite allows publishers to submit ad code from another ad network (such as Google AdSense) and a “reserve price,” and we will only show AdBrite ads when we can beat that reserve price.

For advertisers: AdBrite reaches 39% of all US Internet visitors (Comscore’s October number). Comscore lists us as the 3rd largest ad network in terms of pageviews, behind Advertising.com and Google. We allow targeting by geography, demographic, category, and contextual relevance. We offer a high level of transparency and control, even showing advertisers each website on which their ads have ever appeared, and allowing them to remove or edit their bids on each site.

For other ad networks: AdBrite provides a simple and fast way for other ad networks to increase their scale & reach, by allowing them to run their ads within AdBrite’s network of publishers – over 1 billion pageviews per day.

VB: You told me earlier your platform was like the Rubicon Project, a site that lets publishers selects ads from ad networks that offer the most money. Can you talk about this a bit?

PK: We run an auction for every single pageview, ensuring the highest yield to our publishers. Only an ad network like AdBrite can do this, because an outside party wouldn’t have enough data. Furthermore, AdBrite’s “reserve price” feature which I mentioned before further ensures the highest payout to publishers, with regards to competing networks. Finally, it seems that a publisher could use their Rubicon Project code as their AdBrite reserve price network, if they wanted to.

(Photo courtesy of Mai Le’s Flickr account.)