Risk-free ads? Sounds like an advertiser’s dream come true.

“We’re changing the game of advertising,” MyBuys CEO Bob Cell told me yesterday. “We put our money where our mouth is — if you don’t make money, we don’t charge you.”

MyMail_Intermix_iphone5sYou might think that this is the song-and-dance of an unknown ad network trying to make a splash, but MyBuys has been in the digital marketing business for eight years. The company was built to become a one-to-one advertising and merchandising cloud service before “cloud” was a thing, creating personalization solutions for retailers. More recently, however, MyBuys bought a demand-side ad platform, rewrote it as a one-to-one solution, and launched a guaranteed ad service.

The key to what seems like a rash promise — no ROI, no cost — is in the data, Cell says.

“Our job is to know who you are and what device you’re on,” he said. “At MyBuys we have data on billions of devices, of which roughly a billion are active, and we match them to half a billion emails. All of that data allows us to understand what consumers are doing.”

MyBuys proves that, Cell says, when it runs retail sites’ personalization efforts.

If you’ve ever seen a Top Sellers or People Also Bought section of a retail website, chances are you might have seen technology built by MyBuys, which runs on-site campaigns for 137 of the top 500 Internet retailers. Using customer data it owns and acquires to understand what you and I want when shopping, Cell said, he can sell 230 percent more product in those sections than retailers can themselves.

The same data sources are now powering the company’s new ad personalization technology. And that, Cell says, means the death of pay-per-click and cost-per-thousand.

“For retargeting networks, they’re charging on a click,” he told me. “We think that’s funny — the click doesn’t matter. Instead, we want to figure out how to create real return to the site. We have all this conversation about CPMs, CPC, and so on, but all that matters is the letter A.”

That “A,” he said, stands for “acquisition.” As in customer acquisition.

MySite_GNC_Dell Laptop

While it might be a little premature to call for the death of an economic engine that has built probably the world’s most powerful technology company in Google and powers the globe’s biggest social network in Facebook, there’s certainly some magic in what Cell is saying. If he can indeed so confidently promise actual sales results that he won’t charge customers until they make sales, that’s something almost guaranteed to make a splash.

Not that we haven’t seen it before.

CPA, or cost-per-action, has been around for a long time. Google offers it, and dozens if not hundreds of other ad networks offer it as well. It can be a risky proposition for publishers, however, who essentially agree to carry ads for free if they don’t actually generate any sales.

CEO Robert Cell

Above: CEO Robert Cell

Image Credit: MyBuys

But CPA is a different beast in an era of big data than it was in the dark ages of contextual advertising, just five years ago. With the data that digital advertising engines now possess, it’s much easier to predict who will respond to which ads. And MyBuys says that clients like GNC and Lucky Vitamin, as well as 200 others in its pre-launch private beta, are showing an average 40 percent lift in ad effectiveness.

That could be due to the company’s “active shopper database,” a anonymized database of 250 million active online shoppers that the company has seen, cataloged, and can recognize across desktop, laptop, smartphone, and tablet sessions, allowing the company to target very effectively.

That targeting is good for consumers, Cell says, anticipating the consumer privacy question.

“We just launched our sixth annual consumer survey and asked about privacy and personalization,” he told me. “83 percent of consumers want to be known across all their devices and personalized … that number is crazy, way higher than before.”

I doubt I’m in that 83 percent, as I’m not sure I would want to be known across all my devices. But then, I’m probably also not in the 250 million active shoppers list, either.