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Interactive ad startup True[X] ramps up its war on worthless impressions

Busi­ness devel­op­ment man­agers work­ing to dri­ve online adver­tis­ing sales for their dig­i­tal agen­cies’ clients will like Joe March­ese: he’s at war with an indus­try that too often allows gen­uine­ly cre­ative efforts in dig­i­tal adver­tis­ing to get buried in a tsuna­mi of worth­less impres­sions. And his LA-based com­pa­ny, inter­ac­tive ad start­up True[X], has just bagged a fur­ther $6 mil­lion in Series D to stuff into its war chest.

The war on worth­less impres­sions 

March­ese says the mon­ey is an exten­sion of the Series D it raised back in 2011 (in those days, it was called “SocialVibe”); exist­ing investors Nor­west Ven­ture Part­ners, Pin­na­cle Ven­tures, Red­point Ven­tures and Jaf­co Ven­tures stumped up. The extra cash, March­ese con­firmed, will be ploughed into help­ing True[X] fol­low its aims more aggressively.

But what, the inquir­ing busi­ness devel­op­ment man­ag­er will be ask­ing, do those aims con­sist of?  March­ese wants to attract more big-name, qual­i­ty pub­lish­ers to the startup’s ad plat­form, mov­ing the indus­try away from shady prac­tices that he likens to Wall Street’s oper­a­tions in the sub­prime cri­sis of 2008.

If that’s whet­ted our busi­ness devel­op­ment manager’s curios­i­ty even fur­ther, here’s Marchese’s argu­ment: the finan­cial prod­ucts mar­ket reward­ed the wrong things. It mass-mar­ket­ed hous­ing loans that any­one could see couldn’t pos­si­bly be repaid by their recip­i­ents. Then it bun­dled and repack­aged these tox­ic, vir­tu­al­ly val­ue­less bad loans as some­thing of val­ue­and resold them to “unknow­ing (or worse, com­plic­it) finan­cial institutions”.

March­ese argues that the same thing is hap­pen­ing in media.  The media indus­try has also been reward­ing the wrong things: “impres­sions” – even when no human eye has ever seen them. These, too, are sub­ject to “will­ful­ly neg­li­gent pack­ag­ing and repack­ag­ing”, despite being “worthless”in reality.

Qual­i­ty over quan­ti­ty 

True[X] wants to attract pub­lish­ers who “favor qual­i­ty over vol­ume”; it aims to fos­ter deep­er con­sumer engage­ment with inter­ac­tive ads which reach them where they’re already most pas­sion­ate­ly active on Web – social, social gam­ing, music, video, con­tent, trav­el, sports and WiFi.

The startup’s ads begin decep­tive­ly as dis­play and text ads; but as soon as a vis­i­tor clicks on them they open up to full screen and burst into life with inter­ac­tive video capa­bil­i­ties, and clients get data about the time a user spends engag­ing with the ad, social shar­ing, brand aware­ness and, wait for it, impres­sions (plus more besides).


Pret­ty neat, huh?

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