James Avery is the founder and CEO of Adzerk, a company that is focused on helping publishers make more money from their ad inventory by building a revolutionary ad serving platform. The Makegood recently spoke with James about Adzerk’s adOS app store and the fastest ad code in the world.
The Makegood: James, what market gap did you see and what inspired you to found Adzerk?
I was running a couple of vertical ad networks and looked around at ad serving solutions and I found a bunch of servers written 10 years ago that didn’t do much more than make sure an ad got on the page. The essential issues with the existing ad servers were speed of delivery, contextual targeting, forecasting, and workflow automation. While running those ad networks I had to have a solution that helped me better sell and manage my inventory, as well as keep my publishers happy with fast ad serving and the right tools for making the most from their inventory.
I firmly believe the best way to build a solution is to solve a problem that you have, which is what I set out to do with Adzerk.
The Makegood: Adzerk’s adOS platform is an ad serving platform that aims to be the fastest, easiest to use, and most flexible platform available on the market. James, how does Adzerk’s adOS platform work and how does it help publishers and ad networks to be more successful?
At the core of the adOS platform is our next generation ad server with it’s core features of fast ad serving, better forecasting, and first class usability (the kind of usability usually reserved for consumer apps). We also believe that we are partnering with our customers and view their success as crucial to our success – this means we offer incredible support from support technicians, support engineers, and account managers.
When I looked at the famous lumascape slide (http://www.lumapartners.com/
The Makegood: Adzerk is still expanding, and in Summer 2012, you launched a new ad code that is faster and easier to read and use. Can you explain what it does and where you see this going?
One of the earliest focuses of Adzerk was having the fastest ad code in the world but we believe that to continue to be the best at something you have to be constantly re-inventing your product. We didn’t iterate on our current version – we burned it down and wrote a completely new version with all of the lessons we learned from the first time around.
The newer ad code allows you to request up to 20 ads in a single call, uses friendly iframes for third party compatible asynchronous serving, does all the tracking through pixels for extremely accurate impression counts, and does it in a human readable format. We haven’t stopped there though – we have some new client side innovations on the horizon for 2013.
The Makegood: James, your team blog states that you brought exceptional talent. How did you do that and what is your secret to keep top performers?
I believe that the best people are looking for autonomy, respect, and the chance to work with technologies and challenges that excite them. If someone sits down and tells us how much they want to make before they ask us what technologies we use – we know they are motivated in the wrong way for Adzerk.
You also have to be ruthless about the tough decision to let someone go – if someone is burned out or not working you have to let them go or the other people on the team quickly get discouraged. Everyone wants to work on a team of people fully committed to the project and working to the best of their ability – but the best people will only work on a team like that.
The Makegood: What are your goals for 2013 and what can we see coming from Adzerk in 2013?
2013 is going to be a big year for Adzerk – we saw massive growth in volume in 2012 but we expect to see even bigger growth in 2013. We are serving billions a month and we look at 2013 as the year we start serving billions a day.
We have a number of big features in development but biggest of all we are going to be adding a third pillar to the adOS platform (to go with the ad server and app store) – more on that very soon.
The Makegood: Thanks, James.