There’s a new ad network launching today called Resonate Networks. Its goal is to figure out if a website is worth targeting with an ad based on visitors’ political attitudes, rather than (say) their geographic location or age. The Alexandria, Va. company has raised a $2 million first round of funding from some big-name political figures, including Harold Ickes (deputy chief of staff under President Bill Clinton) and Alexander Gage (who was involved in voter targeting for George W. Bush’s 2004 reelection campaign).
Placing a politically targeted ad might not seem that complicated, but Resonate wants to go beyond the obvious moves like running an ad targeted at a liberal audience on the Huffington Post and instead help advertisers reach a less obvious audience that might still be sympathetic to their message — for example, bringing conservative political ads to a sports website. (Don’t look at me, sports fans — that example comes from Resonate.) To do this, the company says it uses “extensive and proprietary algorithms, data modeling and analysis to map Web users’ attitudes and issue positions against their online behavior.” This isn’t just for political campaigns, either; a large corporation might want to use Resonate’s targeting for a campaign to build up its reputation as a socially responsible company.
Even though Resonate is only officially launching today, it has apparently been in operation for five months and has already earned more than $1 million in revenue. The company’s chief executive and chief operating officer both come from Cyberturst, a security company acquired by Verizon, and it was founded by John Brady (co-founder of the public relations firm Direct Impact) and Sarah Taylor (former White House political director under George W. Bush).
By the way, I’m impressed by the across-the-aisle nature of the investors and founding team — it’s an inspiring illustration of the fact that making money really is bipartisan.