We are increasingly living our lives in online spaces, and as a result, the monetary value of those spaces seems to be rising every day. Billions and billions of dollars are spent every single year on online advertising. One of the challenges is not only making sure that your money is well spent, but also that your spend won't have a negative impact on your brand. If you're wondering how that could happen, think about this: it's estimated that about 10% of all online ads wind up in places they shouldn't be.
I actually had the pleasure of having lunch with Ian Lightstone (CFO ArtsandTV) a few months back while we were originally filming this video. It was my first exposure to the project and I have to say, it's pretty fascinating what they're working on. As someone who spends all their time talking about vulnerabilities and attack types and all the other pieces of the security conversation, advertising wasn't something that came up a lot. SEO attacks are probably the closest I'd ever gotten to thinking about advertising in the context of security. So how does security intersect with advertising?
ArtsandTV is a relatively small company that needed a lot of data. Data is something that IBM has. Specifically, we have one of the largest URL filtering databases in the world (Security Content Analysis SDK). This product is something typically used to enhance existing security offerings, but it is being used a bit differently here. The Project Sunblock team wanted to improve the way advertisers spend their money.
As you can probably imagine, there are a lot of inappropriate websites on the internet, places where you wouldn't want your brand to appear. In addition to the obvious places you want to avoid, there are other places that are more subtle. Imagine you are a bank, and you advertise a lot on some popular news site. One day, that site runs a story about the financial crisis and is extremely critical of the banking system. Despite the fact that you might frequently advertise on this site, you likely do not want your brand associated with that story.
So, ArtsandTV had the algorithms and IBM had the data. The combination of the two became Project Sunblock, an ad spend optimization and brand protection tool. Project Sunblock can help to keep your brand from appearing on inappropriate pages through the use of content and image analysis combined with a real-time decision making engine. This applies to both generally inappropriate sites, as well as the instances of specific articles and stories that you don't want your brand associated with.
One last thing to remember is that 10% figure I cited at the beginning this post. Not only is this solution protecting the image of a brand, it is also a way to get a better return on your investments. That 10% can be better spent elsewhere.