Like many blockchain-based companies with noble ambitions, when AdBank held their initial coin offering (ICO) in December 2017, it came with it many “what if’s?”. What if they didn’t make enough money to continue or couldn’t find a suitable partner? But for Angelo Dodaro, Co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer at Adbank, he could not have predicted what happened next…
The problem with the advertising industry
Dodaro created Adbank to tackle a problem with the advertising industry, using a combination of artificial intelligence and blockchain technology, the leading expert in digital advertising and cryptocurrency marketing wanted to fight the $50bn ad fraud problem.
While working in the industry, he found that programmatic digital ad networks take on average 48 cents of every dollar and that’s before ad fraud comes into the mix. Ad fraud is currently estimated to include that it is actually bots & non-human traffic driving 56% of all website traffic, costing advertisers $51 million a day in 2018 through fake traffic.
Adbank is therefore out to disrupt the multi-hundred billion dollars digital advertising industry using blockchain technology built on the Ethereum network. It prides itself on not only stopping the bots through AI but also cutting out the middleman through blockchain, some of which are marking up the cost of ads by up to 70% or more.
Adbank launched into its ICO with a viral video created by Emmy nominated Zack Bornstein (SNL, Jimmy Kimmel) which was soon spotted on the other side of the world by the Austrian National Tourist Office. Already breaking boundaries in the digital advertising world, the office’s last campaign showcased a screen-obsessed executive losing his phone but finding happiness in the Alps.
Now the office has agreed to run a pilot featuring the new technology. Dodaro explains:
The Austrian National Tourism Office (ANTO) is extremely tech-savvy and are known for pursuing innovative solutions in the digital advertising space, so working with them made a lot of sense for a company like Adbank that’s focused on an emerging technology such as blockchain.
It turns out the ANTO team is very excited about blockchain, were aware of some of the potential benefits to them and had been watching the space closely. The credibility gained by working with an organization like ANTO is huge for a start-up like us at Adbank. ANTO’s willingness to work with us shows we’re on the right track.
Indeed, things have soon snowballed from their successful ICO Adbank completed their blockchain-based payment protocol in March that will work in combination with their patent-pending anti-fraud AI (artificial intelligence). They are one of the few ad tech companies in the world in the race to fix the advertising industry’s problems.
Michael Scheuch, Head of Brand Management for ANTO, had this to say about working with the up and coming cryptocurrency startup:
“We are actively positioning Austria to be one of the premier global destinations to visit all year round. In the pilot with Adbank, one of the more interesting blockchain applications in the advertising sector, we hope to overcome on a global scale various difficulties within classic online advertising.”
According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, global governments spent a combined $413 billion in 2016 on promoting tourism in their local countries. “Markups and ad fraud cost the tourism industry billions per year and there is little to no accountability with the current advertising ecosystem. ANTO will be the first of many travel-focused partners to mark the beginning of an era where the advertiser has the control they deserve using Adbank’s technology.” says co-founder and CSO Kelsey Cole.
Another player in the mix
Adbank also has another notable player in the mix, with Red Bull Media House providing inventory on the publisher side via their alpine lifestyle publication Bergwelten. The Red Bull team agreed to participate in the campaign using Adbank’s technology after a visit by the Adbank team to their headquarters in Salzburg, Austria in April.
As for what’s next for Adbank, last week they teamed up with Adweek to run a pilot on their homepage for Flixel, the creators of Apple Design Award winning software Cinemagraph Pro which creates ‘living photos’ that blend video and photography together.
For Dodaro, the take-up from the ad industry has been faster than he had ever dreamed. He added:
It’s exciting to see a country like Austria acknowledging the powerful use case that exists for advertising on the blockchain. This level of transparency between advertiser and publisher is unprecedented, especially for an organization like ANTO. For the first-time advertisers like them can see where their money is going, rather than going into a ‘black box’ that shows data we know for a fact is questionable.