Paul Mokbel is Founder and CEO of SiteScout, the world’s favorite self-serve platform for buying banner, video and rich media ad space on the web and mobile devices. SiteScout, which was just acquired by Centro, is the media buying platform of choice for small businesses, entrepreneurs, sophisticated marketers, digital advertising agencies, e-commerce stores, independent authors, and even global brands. The Makegood recently spoke with Paul about the acquisition.
The Makegood: Your company, SiteScout, was just acquired by Centro. Can you talk about how your company has grown and changed up until this point from its founding 3 years ago?
We originally started SiteScout because of a need for accessible and scalable ad servers for small and mid-sized marketers. Shortly after, in the summer of 2010, we recognized the same void in real-time bidding (RTB) technology, which was just emerging, so we created the self-serve SiteScout RTB platform. Over the past few years, as RTB spend has grown, our business has grown with it, due to the enormous number of marketers and agencies looking for an easy solution. At the same time, we’ve been continuously adding more capabilities, starting first with desktop display ads, and then continuing to mobile and soon to video. Along the way, we’ve also integrated with the best inventory sources and data providers available. We now have over 4,000 customers and access to 21 billion impressions per day. With Centro, we’ll be adding a new base of customers – the mid-sized and large agencies – who can now experience our technology in their firms as well.
The Makegood: Now that you are a part of Centro’s network, what will you bring to the table that was previously lacking?
The most important thing that SiteScout brings to the table is our technology acumen and agile product culture. Centro has a strong history of helping agencies execute direct site buys as efficiently as possible, and that’s still a huge portion of ad buys. At the same time, the RTB market continues to grow. Together with Centro, we want to create a unified platform that helps marketers buy media across all guaranteed and biddable inventory, on all channels, with all ad formats, to achieve any campaign objective – from branding to direct response. Our strength is on the technology side, so that will be our primary responsibility in bringing this vision to reality.
The Makegood: What opportunities is Centro providing SiteScout with that you could not have gotten without their help?
Becoming part of Centro helps SiteScout in two ways. First, Centro brings all of its size, strength and scale to SiteScout. Its sales organization, marketing team, and client relationships will help us scale much faster. We’re very excited about the agency base with whom they work. Those are clients to which we previously never had access. Second, this allows us the opportunity for a much bigger play in the industry: to be the first company that creates one platform for media buyers across all media, including all guaranteed and biddable inventory. Centro’s capabilities and experience in direct sales and programmatic direct is an important aspect in making this vision work.
The Makegood: How do you plan to compete with larger DSPs in the space, now that you are under Centro?
First and foremost, we now have a sales and services team that matches and exceeds the offerings of other large DSPs. Furthermore, we now have the resources to grow our technology team and rapidly expand the capabilities of the SiteScout platform. We feel that we have technology that is equal to what the top players bring to the space, with additional features that surpass others – such as real-time analytics, a scalable self-serve offering, and so on. Together with Centro, we can offer agencies a unified solution that they otherwise wouldn’t have working with traditional standalone DSPs.
The Makegood: Advertising fraud is a big issue in this industry. How are SiteScout and Centro fighting to lower the amount of fraud taking place?
We’ve always taken a very proactive and hands-on approach to removing fraudulent inventory sources from our system. More recently, we’ve developed technology that detects what we refer to as “bait and switch” publishers. This is when a bid request comes in with a seemingly legitimate domain like cnn.com, but then gets served on a highly suspect domain. With Centro, we are taking it a step further by exploring additional technology partnerships that assist in the fight against fraud. Considering how many advertising dollars are funneled through both Centro and SiteScout’s platforms, this is definitely a priority for us.
The Makegood: Thank you, Paul