Meet the ZEDO Account Managers!

It’s August, but it doesn’t feel like it at all. While the rest of the country roasts in a sweltering heat wave (or so we hear), the Bay Area is turning on heaters and still wearing winter outfits.  Will this weather ever stabilize? Half the year’s gone by, and my Product Management and Customer Service teams have had their noses to the grindstone all year long.

We’re on track to deploy our 13th release of the year later this month.  We’re blowing features out the door as fast as a startup, and without jeopardizing stability or performance and with little impact to our customers.

I wanted to take a moment to introduce you to our Account Management team…these are the folks that give you a single touchpoint with ZEDO and make sure all your needs are being addressed; from support to product roadmap improvements, coordinating trainings and facilitating invoice questions.

Abdulla Lodhia

abdulla

  • Name: Abdulla Lodhia, Assistant Manager – Customer Support
  • With ZEDO since: March 2008
  • Name one way ZEDO takes care of its customers: Excellent Customer Service including Implementation, Support, Trafficking & Dedicated Account Manager
  • What are your hobbies outside of work?  Travelling & researching online about various topics
  • What is exciting to you about what ZEDO offers their customers? ZEDO now offers all sorts of Advertising solutions right from dedicated Ad Server, Publisher Rich Media, Trafficking Services, Ad Network Optimization for publishers, Self Service Platform and outsourced Ad Ops as well as creative designing services.

Working with ZEDO has been a learning curve and it has definitely helped me improve personally and professionally, as well as expand my knowledge of our Online Advertising industry. There are various parties involved right from Advertiser, Publishers, Agencies, Affiliates, Networks and more, each of them have their own goal to achieve and seriously this industry has no limits in terms of approach or creativity that you can do to achieve these goals. The best part what I like working with ZEDO is the honesty, approach and feedback that we take towards helping our customers grow. There are endless opportunities to improvise and do something new for our customer which keeps me really interested, unlike boring places to work where you get monotonous after certain period. There are a lot more examples to share on a case to case basis but it cannot be all written here, all I can say is I am really GLAD that I am a ZEDOITE.

Buddy Johnston

meTODAY Buddy Johnston here, Account Manager at ZEDO. I first sat down in this position 2 years ago this week.   I have been amazed how our UI has changed over time largely because of input from Customers like you. I have watched as new products & services were built to give you more options, more visibility and hopefully more revenue. Our CEO, Roy De Souza, once said something that I love to repeat all the time, “If you’re doing well, ZEDO is doing well.” I sincerely believe that and in those instances when things don’t go so great we feel your pain. Let’s face it this business we’re all in changes day by day. Thankfully for me I have a great Support Staff in Mumbai ready to dive in and address any concerns that come up quickly & accurately. Our Engineers in India & Russia keep the back end humming while our Product Managers work on new projects and enhancements to existing products.  I am proud to be a part of the ZEDO Team and can’t wait to see what the last half of 2010 bring to us all. When I’m not here at work I am listening to music or watching old Mickey Mouse cartoons  trying to figure out why the 1st part of 2010 went by so fast.

Namrata Karmokar

Namrata

  • Name: Namrata Karmokar, Account Manager
  • With ZEDO since: December 2006
  • Name one way ZEDO takes care of its customers: By building valuable customized features that our clients ask for.
  • What are your hobbies outside of work? My hobbies are Dancing, Drawing and playing outdoor games.
  • What is exciting to you about what ZEDO offers their customers? The support which we provide to customers is remarkable. We make sure that customers get what they are looking for. We respect their time and assure them for response on timely manner. I like two features which makes our customer happy:  Rich media ad formats and Ad Network Revenue Maximizer.

There is a lot to learn in this industry.  This Ad Serving industry is booming every day and things are becoming advanced and enhanced as each day passes. It’s been more than 3 years I am working in this firm and I still learn new things with every request we receive from our customers. There’s an old saying, “We can always learn more from challenging times than from good times.” Catherine Pulsife.

Katy Franco

katy

  • Name:  Katy Franco, Account Manager/ Corporate Trainer/ Tech Writer
  • With ZEDO since:  July 2008
  • Name one way ZEDO takes care of its customers:  We build what you need. Many of our current features came out of customer requests.
  • What are your hobbies outside of work? Working on my house, sewing, reading, cooking, learning Hindi.
  • What is exciting to you about what ZEDO offers their customers? Lots! As I mentioned – we really react when people tell us what they want to do.  (This also makes it a great place to work  I know that my own ideas will always be considered and often implemented.) I like how much we care about our customers. It’s neat to be able to tell people that we can help them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  I also like that we’ve grown to be so much more than an ad server.  I often get to tell people, “We can do that, too!”

I’ve been working in Customer Service for over twenty years in a wide range of jobs, but never in any field that I wanted to stick with.  I kinda fell into my job at ZEDO because I was doing some contract copywriting for a side project.  Then I started editing some ad serving customer facing docs and found the technology fascinating.  Now I train new customers to use the ad server, have a roster of very interesting clients to help out, and still work on documentation when I can. It’s certainly never boring, and I plan to stick to this industry for a long time.

This year, ZEDO is celebrating our customers during the month of August. Contact your ZEDO Account Manager to find out about special offers we have about system overviews and setup analysis sessions.

Why outsourcing extra ad ops capacity is good

Of ZEDO’s many Advertising Technologies and Services for publishers, outsourced trafficking is the one most in demand today because of its ability to help publishers cut cost.  Publishers using many different ad servers often ask me if ZEDO can help their ad ops team with overflow work load, and I am proud to always answer confidently that ZEDO certainly can.

The benefit of using outsourced ad ops for publishers is threefold:

1. Save Money.
ZEDO, for example, charges about half the fully loaded US cost of a full time ad operations employee (FTE). No one wants to be the one paying more than they have to.

2. More Coverage.
Customers ask my team all the time if someone can help them because their ad ops team is short staffed, or not working on weekends. Advertisers send requests late on Friday night or Saturday mornings and often want ads live by Monday. Publishers usually have great ad ops teams, but only during business hours. Outsourcing provides 24 hour 7 day a week coverage. I am excited that we can do this at any time of the day or night, and customers really appreciate it.

3. Avoiding Retention Issues.
Retaining great ad ops staff is hard work, in my experience. Entry level ad ops recruits often want to move to sales or development after a year.  That means hiring and training all over again and losing your best people. Outsourcing can be a better solution.  By signing up with ZEDO, publishers maintain their excellent senior teams and don’t waste time on hiring and retention. They find this quite a relief.

I think outsourcing of ad ops is the right way to go for publishers. We can add value to any publishers across the world. Outsourced ad ops is one of our big value adds today. Publishers cut costs, avoid wasting time on retention and get excellent 24/7 coverage to win and retain advertisers.

And, there is no better company than ZEDO to do this because we engineered an ad server – we know how they work. I, personally, and my team actually enjoy helping publishers to keep their advertisers happy.

We forecast that you’ll love this

It’s about time sales reps had reliable inventory forecasts.   Leaving money on the table simply because your inventory forecast isn’t accurate is simply not acceptable.  Underdelivering an order, on the other hand, can jeopardize advertiser relationships.

Inventory forecasting is a complex science. Decision-making servers decide which ad to serve to a user only when an ad request comes in from that user. Those decision-making servers execute highly complex algorithms at the very moment of the ad request. They take into account what has already served from each campaign, frequency capping and geo targeting requirements, and much more.

An inventory forecasting system has to predict what these complex decision-making servers will decide. And it has to predict this far in the future. The best it can do is to make a good guess.  How can an inventory forecast keep up with the complexity of thousands of combinations that a decision-making server can handle?

ZEDO has elegantly solved this problem. For each forecast, ZEDO runs the decision-making servers hundreds of times. We run the decision-making server for tomorrow based on predictions of tomorrow’s traffic and store the results of what will serve. We then use these results and a prediction of traffic patterns for the next day, and make another run of the decision server.  We use the results of the second day to generate the third day, and so on.

Why is this better?  Simple. Rather than guessing what the decision server will do, we are executing all decisions: actually running them hundreds of times for every forecast. It is a huge undertaking that is both CPU and data intensive. Since the same engine that determines ad-delivery does predictions as well any improvements to the decision engine are also immediately reflected in the forecasts. Further, this is uniquely possible because ZEDO built a predictive delivery system 10+ years ago – some of you may remember why.

What it does  provide are beautifully accurate forecasts. And the premium ad sales rep can even see day-by-day illustrations of how each advertiser’s impressions will be served. This is a remarkable leap forward, for direct sales forces across the country. ZEDO inventory forecasts are a tool that every sales rep must have in their arsenal.

How to make Real Time Bidding a win for Publishers

In response to recent industry enthusiasm for Real Time Bidding (RTB), I feel it is important to look at the publisher’s point of view. Exchanges and real time bidding systems are popular because they allow an advertiser to pay just one cent more than the next highest paying advertiser. Is this a good thing? Advertisers use RTB to continually test lower bids and find the lowest accepted price. Clearly this is a great technology for advertisers.

However, Real Time Bidding can be bad for publishers if they don’t use it well. Take this example of a local advertiser who is happy to pay $4.00 CPM because he is getting a satisfactory cost per conversion. With the new RTB ability to vary bids, the advertiser may find that for some users the next highest bidder is paying $0.40 CPM. Now, the advertiser will only pay $0.41 CPM instead of $4.00 for those users. This is a 90% loss of revenue for publishers.

To benefit from this great new technology, publishers need an Advertising Technology company that is on their side. A good publisher technology allows publishers to prevent bidders or exchanges from knowing, or being able to derive, the price other advertisers are paying. The publisher technology should instead hold their private information close to their chest and set a minimum price. For example, a good technology allows the publisher to set a fair minimum CPM, of e.g. $5, for advertisers that are choosing valuable, locally targeted impressions. ZEDO, as a partner for publishers, is unique in offering this.

iMedia Connection uses ZEDO, Inc.!


Recently, the online publisher of content, news, and commentary on critical issues affecting buyers and sellers in the interactive media and marketing industry, iMedia Connection, switched ad serving technology providers from Microsoft  to ZEDO, Inc.  We are thrilled to have them on board as a customer, and look forward to supplying ad operation problem solving, innovative and creative technology enhancements, and competent 24×7 customer support.

We understand that it is iMedia Connection’s job is to produce valuable content for its audience, and we plan to be a strong advertising technology partner behind the scene, solving the ad technology issues, so that iMedia Connection can focus on its main objectives. We will achieve this plan in three ways:

  1. Providing iMedia Connection with more adverting technology options to choose from and use seamlessly together in one web-based platform.
  2. Giving them access to more visibility of critical data and information about their past, current, and future inventories.
  3. Helping them to increase monetization, and make more revenue in the process.

Welcome iMedia Connection!


ZEDO is Much More Than an Ad Server.

The team here at ZEDO has been working diligently over the last two years to build the most advanced ad technologies on the market. We feel that it is now time for a new slogan that proclaims what ZEDO is: A Partner for Publishers.

ZEDO has always been an advertising technology leader. After extensive software development at the request of many of its customers and the need in the market place for a technology company that offers publishers everything they need, ZEDO now offers a lot more than just an ad server. It offers: multiple products for publishers to choose from or use seamlessly together in one platform. It is the most dependable platform for premium publishers to partner with for any one of their advertising technology needs. ZEDO is also the only technology provider that helps premium publishers increase revenues from direct sold, self service, and remnant inventory without requiring them to switch ad servers. Our new tagline, ‘More options, More visibility, More Revenue’, illustrates that choice of products and services that it now offers. The team here is proud of our technology, of our large research and engineering centers, and now our slogan and tagline to describe all this.

Introducing:
ZEDO
Advertising Technology Partner for Publishers

ZEDO offers: More Options, More Visibility, More Revenue. Products include ad network optimization for a publisher’s remnant inventory, innovative rich media formats for publisher’s direct sales teams, full featured ad serving for publishers, behavioral targeting data built into the ad server, an exchange-like platform for publishers to sell behavioral and DMA targeted inventory at high CPMs (see: www.zedoadnetwork.com), a self service platform to allow advertisers to buy directly from a publisher, outsourced ad ops and more.

ZEDO new slogan – Advertising Technology Partner for Publishers.

ZEDO new tagline – More Options. More Visibility. More Revenue.

To keep up to date with ZEDO news in the future, follow us on Twitter and join our Linkedin group:  Twitter Linkedin Group

Addressing vulnerabilities in the ad network chain

TechCrunch yesterday posted an article covering the growing concerns of vulnerabilities in top ad servers and ad networks around the world.  The current focus of these articles is the JS:Prontexi virus, named first by Avast!, which is a harmful javascript code that acts as a channel for malware attacks. This virus can infect users without even clicking on the ad.  According to CNET:

Found in ads delivered from those networks was Javascript code that Avast dubbed “JS:Prontexi”, which Avast researcher Jiri Sejtko said is a Trojan in a script form that targets the windows operating system.  It looks for vulnerabilities in Adobe Reader and Acrobat, Java, Quicktime and Flash and launches fake antivirus warnings, Sejtko said.

Users don’t need to click on anything to get infected; a computer becomes infected after the ad is loaded by the browser, Avast said.

What we’re seeing now is more dangerous and damaging than in the past.  The makers of this virus have compromised major ad networks and ad servers in the recent weeks – including ZEDO.

We thought we’d take this time to present what we know and what we’re doing about it.  We found – with the help of others in the online security community – a sample tag of ZEDO’s that resulted in the JS:Prontexi virus infection on the test machine.  We quickly checked for the presence of the advertiser tag across all our customers, and found several instances, however, at the time of this check, all ads were expired or inactive, including the ad code we tested.

To state another way – though we were able to locate a bad ad tag in our system, it and all other instances were already turned off and not running in ZEDO.  Our security processes and systems, or our own diligent customers, had already located the problem and shut it down.

The ZEDO system automatically scans the contents of all uploaded ad code for the presence of anything suspicious, from suspicious flash or javascript code, to known suspicious domains.  We have also started a whitelist-only model, and are allowing only tags from authorized ad networks to be uploaded into the ZEDO system.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t protect ZEDO, or any other ad server, from future problems.  Since we do accept all known ad servers and legitimate ad networks, we are vulnerable to the internal security processes of other systems.  It is in the best interest of the entire industry to work together on this.  Communities and alliances are forming between direct competitors, companies are joining hands and efforts, and sharing information quickly to catch and kill these problems.

Ad networks and publishers need to take more care now than ever, to protect their relationships and ultimately, end users.  Ad Networks must scrutinize their business relationships.  In this economy, it can be tough for ad networks to walk away from a deal, and even tougher when things look good on the surface.  Start to pick the surface though, and you may find fake companies, anonymous, international or recently registered domains, and more. We’ve seen and heard of companies falsely representing major, global ad agencies, and creative that mimicks top Brand Advertisers.

We are doing everything we can to protect our customers and Internet users.  For more information on ZEDO’s Anti-Spyware policy and efforts, click here.

Summer Koide

VP, Product and Services

Track your Ad Performance with AdMagic

Another year has gone by and we have been busy little elves completing a record 22 releases in 2009- that works out to about a release every two weeks. This is in comparison to 13 releases we did in 2008. When we are so involved in constantly making incremental improvements, it is hard to step back and see how much the product has improved compared to last year.

Last year I made a promise to improve overall quality and increase the pace of improvement. Looking back, I feel comfortable in claiming that we have delivered in what has been a difficult time for our industry and the world economy as a whole.

In the relentless and sometime grueling schedule to get out new features on time and to spec, we appreciate very much your feedback and sometime your vocal criticism. We have learned all too many times the hard way it is difficult to please everyone and one man’s feature request is another’s annoyance.  But the worst criticism for anything is apathy and perhaps by that yardstick the very vocal feedback shows us that you do care about our products perhaps a little more passionately than imagined.

Almost 90% of new features that we build are driven by customer insistence or from sales so that it fits our strategic vision of where we want to be as a company. However, every once in a while we have the freedom to slip in something when the bean counters were not looking. Well, I am writing to you today to announce just such a thing. It’s a kind of thing that we think is not going to bring in any additional revenue or close that major deal we have been salivating over for a year but something we did because we wanted to and because we had the chutzpah to imagine you may like it too.

Wouldn’t it be a nice to be able to shut down an ad just by looking at it? How often have you seen an ad and wondered how it was performing or wanted to find more details about it? We are working on a product that allows us to read your mind that we think will revolutionize the industry. While we get clearance for it from the FDA, we thought we could give you the closest thing to Mind Serving (t).So meanwhile, I give you ZEDO ADMagic. You can download it from the home dashboard of your ZEDO account and here’s a demo video which shows how it works:  http://www.zedo.com/demos/ZEDOAdMagic.html

It is Beta software. That means exactly what it says: treat it like a child. It may behave unexpectedly. If it causes you to double your revenues, cause the Dear Leader to press The Button, or our charismatic President to give you a tax credit, we refuse to take responsibility. We encourage you to send in your platitudes and of course your strident criticism. We lose more sleep over them than you could ever imagine. It keeps us hungry, gives us artistic license to send out I-told-you-so emails and prevents us from sending out too many unimaginative self congratulatory emails that just clog our email servers.

I am proud of it.  I would be embarrassed to call it a labor of love even though several members of our talented team have spent hours on it when they could have spent it with their families. Let’s just call it a thank you gift for now – for sticking with us through the good and the bad.

It is just the beginning of a possibility. If the feedback is encouraging, we can spend more resources to develop it more or send it to an untimely grave. We sincerely hope you will like it and you can see where it could lead.

But we have other promises to keep. I can’t tell you about them yet, except I think a few of them will revolutionize ad operations. Talk is cheap anyways. But if  you have the patience to wait two weeks, we will have a steady stream of hopefully pleasant surprises waiting for you throughout 2010.

Joseph Jacob
CTO
ZEDO Inc

Cookies can be good for you!

Many people think that they understand what browser cookies are, but there are many myths, misconceptions and negative perceptions that surround the mysterious text files. Many people are lead to think that cookies (and the ad servers that send them to your PC) are spyware or malware. But that is far from the truth.  In fact, cookies can be good for you!  No, not the ones with sugar, butter, and frosting, but the ones that enable you to have a personalized experience when surfing the web.

Recently a brilliant weblog was published by “Lifehacker” titled, Fact and Fiction: The Truth About Browser Cookies. The author explained how cookies are simply tiny bits of text that get stored on your computer, by your web browser, when you visit websites.  It is true that cookies do log information about some of your online habits, but they do not steal personal information, or share personal information, or enable viruses to invade your computer.  Cookies are however, still misunderstood and often opted-out of.  Sadly, the negative perceptions are not only inaccurate, but could actually decrease an individual’s online experience.  Without cookies, the websites that you visit would not be able to deliver you customized advertisements based on your interests (a similar concept to which Amazon has gained much of its success from: web personalization).  The diagram below shows how this relationship between you and your websites is developed.  We hope that it offers some clarity on how cookies can be good for you!

Change campaign revenue calculations

Have you tried creating a campaign to track conversions but would still like to optimize the ads based on the advertiser’s rates?

If so, then this would not have been possible initially as a campaign rate would either be based on the actions rate or the campaign rates.

But now, this can be done!

The new feature “Change Revenue calculations” on the campaigns page makes it possible.
Changing the revenue calculations type

What’s new?

  • With this new option you can choose right at the campaign level if the campaign would be optimized on the campaign rates of advertiser rates.
  • More flexibility and control in your hands.

You can change many different things now, including campaign type (Normal to Exclusive), Revenue Type (CPM/C/A), Inventory Type (Premium to Excess), and advanced tracking options.

Stay tuned for more changes to the campaigns page.