This interview is part of our new Blockchain In Advertising series, where we interview the world's leading thought leaders on the front lines of the intersections between blockchain and advertising.
In this interview we speak with Will Luttrell, Founder and CEO of Amino Payments, to understand how his company is using blockchain to transform the advertising business, and what the future of the industry holds.
1. What’s the story behind Amino Payments? Why and how did you begin?
WL: Amino Payments was conceived after my time as Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder at Integral Ad Science, a global technology company that builds verification solutions for digital advertising. I knew there were still problems that plagued the digital advertising industry like fraudulent inventory and inefficiencies caused by an overall lack of transparency. I reached out to co-founders David Bookspan and Chris Chapman with an initial idea and we concluded that if advertisers were able to control the money, they would be able to control the problems.
The current state of online advertising allows for rampant fraud, waste, and abuse, with reports of over $19 billion lost each year. Amino’s technology effectively eliminates those problems and benefits all major entities in the media supply chain: Brands increase their ROI, the “middlemen” of digital advertising prove their trustworthiness and get paid faster, and publishers increase their profitability. Amino's products help our clients get maximum value for the money they spend, the services they offer, or the inventory they have.
2. Please describe your use case and how Amino Payments uses blockchain:
WL: Digital advertising has many challenges like ad fraud, domain spoofing, delayed payments, and unexpected fees. These challenges are enabled by an opaque and complex supply path. It would certainly be possible for Amino to add another “black box” into this ecosystem or add another fee into the bloated tech tax, and say “trust us.” However, blockchain offers us a distributed, trusted, immutable way to record events, transactions, contracts and relationships that’s accessible to all interested parties in the same manner and at the same time. By placing cryptographically-verified data onto blockchain, we are replacing “trust us” with “don’t just trust us- see for yourself.” On our mission to becoming the payments system of digital advertising, this is a critical step.
3. Could you share a specific customer/user that benefits from what you offer? What has your service done for them?
WL: By enabling transparent media buying, Amino Payments has already helped advertisers save millions of dollars in various ways. At AdExchanger's 2018 Programmatic I/O in NYC, Nestlé presented a significant finding from an Amino-enabled test campaign that helped them save 5.46% more of their budget than what they would have saved without Amino. This was done by layering verification data with impression-level financial transparency in order to show the true cost of every fraudulent impression. According to Integral Ad Science, 3.77% of impressions were found to be outside of Nestlê's brand safety guidelines. In a typical campaign, Nestlé would receive credit for about 3.77% of spend in order to compensate for those brand-damaging impressions. However, using Amino, Nestlé was able to see that those impressions actually represented 9.23% of spend which they were then credited for at the end of the campaign. Similar analysis of verification and financial data have helped other advertisers save millions, increasing their advertising ROI while staying in their brand guidelines.
4. What other blockchain advertising use cases are you excited about?
WL: Domain spoofing, or when a fraudulent publisher disguises itself as a premium publisher, is estimated to account for $1 million in lost revenue for publishers every month. Rebel AI is tackling this problem with blockchain using their cryptographic solution that prevents advertisers from displaying an impression on a spoofed domain. If an unverified domain attempts to display an ad, Rebel AI’s solution blocks the ad from rendering and records the attempt within their dashboard. With the ever-increasing need for quality journalism, Rebel AI empowers those publishers to receive the value intended for them to continue providing impactful content.
5. Where will Amino Payments be in 5 years?
WL: Amino's overall goal is to become the payments platform for the $333B digital-ad industry. Financial data is often collected in different formats from multiple sources, resulting in inconsistencies and hours of manually matching transactions. With all verified, comprehensive financial data in one place, reconciliation can be automated and streamlined. In the current process of sequential payments – in which the advertiser/agency pays the DSP, who pays the exchange, who then pays the publisher – vendors have lower liquidity to invest in more engineering and growth, hampering the industry and stalling progress for the very advertisers holding back funds. Marketers are indirectly charging themselves a late fee due to these blanket policies created to squeeze vendors across hundreds of supply categories. Timely, correct payments will undoubtedly change the industry by providing much-needed resources to tech vendors and publishers while also reducing costs for marketers. Amino Payments is facilitating a new industry standard of prompt payments in exchange for verified value.