Consumers ‘Keep’ Ads of Their Choice With a Simple Click – Personal ‘Keeper™’ Gives Consumers Absolute Control to Engage With Online Ads on Their Own Time and Terms
Scott Kurnit, Successful Media Entrepreneur, Launches Company With Backing of Top-Tier Venture Capital Firms; Advisory Board Filled With Industry Luminaries; Charter Advertisers Include Fortune 500’s
NEW YORK – AdKeeper™ announced a transformative online advertising service that will forever change the way consumers interact with the Internet. With one simple click of a button, consumers can place ads of their choice into their personal ‘Keeper™,’ offering them absolute control to save, sort, sift, share, rank, review, click, print and buy online from ads they have specifically selected. Part of AdKeeper’s revolutionary approach is that no software, no downloads, no browser extensions, no plug-ins and no pre-registration are required. One Click. Kept. Period.
AdKeeper is founded by Scott Kurnit, one of the nation’s most successful online media entrepreneurs and founder of About.com, and funded by top-tier investors including: True Ventures, DCM, Spark Capital, First Round Capital, Betaworks, Lerer Ventures, David Cowan, Stan Shuman and The New York Times Company.
AdKeeper has been embraced by the largest group of charter advertisers for any new media launch. This prestigious group includes many of the nation’s largest and most innovative companies, from a wide variety of industries, including members of the Fortune 500: Allstate, Ally Bank, AT&T, Best Buy, CBS, Ford, Gap, General Mills, InterContinental Hotels Group, JetBlue, Kmart, Kraft Foods, Macy’s, McDonald’s, Pepsi, Sara Lee, Sears, Showtime, The Advertising Council, Unilever and Warner Bros.
The company’s Advisory Board boasts industry luminaries including Bob Greenberg (R/GA), Janet Robinson (The New York Times Company), John Battelle (Federated Media), Jeremy Allaire (Brightcove), Ken Lerer (Huffington Post), Bijan Sabet (Spark Capital), John Borthwick (Betaworks), Wenda Harris Millard (MediaLink), David Rosenblatt (Former DoubleClick), Peggy Conlon (The Advertising Council), David Cowan (Bessemer Ventures), and George Schweitzer (CBS).
”Until now, the consumer could control every aspect of the Internet experience – except one. Not anymore. AdKeeper delivers the ability for consumers to finally save online ads for use on their own terms and time. Without leaving their current page or interrupting their online experience, consumers have the unprecedented ability to click and keep ads of their choice,” said founder Scott Kurnit.
“AdKeeper enables active engagement with online advertising – establishing a dialogue in which the brand and consumer are both willing participants and giving consumers absolute control of what, how and when they engage with marketing communications,” added Kurnit. “And in the process, it also creates a more seamless relationship between consumers and marketers as initial ad impressions are followed up with additional permission-based product information, brand experiences and unique offers.”
How does AdKeeper work?
The business is as simple as a Keep Button™ and a Keeper™. Here’s how it works.
When consumers see a “K” button on an ad that interests them, they click the K button, and continue their reading or viewing experience uninterrupted. The ad is copied into their Keeper where it can be visited later, at the consumer’s convenience. Once in the Keeper, consumers can sort and organize their ads, click through to get more information, make their purchase or print a coupon. They can also rank, review and share ads they think their friends would find helpful or entertaining.
Ads are intended to help consumers save money, make buying decisions, research products and services and at times, entertain. With the help of AdKeeper, consumers can exercise even more control over their online browsing experience. Instead of ads being a distraction or something to be ignored, consumers can now feel safe to ‘click and keep’ knowing their time and attention are respected.
Save. Sort. Sift. Share. Rank. Review. Click. Print. Buy.
These are just some of the capabilities AdKeeper offers – all within a dynamic, live consumer interface that is both private and personalized. The Keeper is the consumer’s own place where only the ads they have invited have a right to exist. The ‘click to keep’ will not trigger any other ad or intrusive actions. A consumer-first business, AdKeeper respects consumers’ security and right to privacy. The ads will be held confidentially in each consumer’s Keeper, waiting for them to interact as they wish.
“Internet advertising was modeled after TV advertising – where the consumer views content, then interruptive ads, then more content. But the web is a totally dynamic environment that places consumers in the driver’s seat,” said Kurnit. “It’s time for the advertising experience to catch up with the rest of the web experience. AdKeeper affords consumers the opportunity to engage with the advertising that interests them most, at the time and place of their choosing. It’s ‘on my time advertising.’ It’s invitational, not interruptive. It’s for brands that respect their consumers. And it’s for consumers who want to take charge.”
AdKeeper was launched today in beta and is currently available by invitation. The service will be widely available in the first quarter of 2011.
Who’s Talking About AdKeeper?
Jeremy Allaire, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Brightcove, said: “Saving fun and useful video ads for repeat viewing, sharing and engaging on my schedule takes the medium to a whole new level.”
John Battelle, Chairman, CEO and Founder of Federated Media, said: “When people start keeping their ads, advertisers, publishers, and consumers will win. This is an idea whose time has come.”
John Borthwick, CEO, Betaworks; Former SVP Technology and Alliances, Time Warner, said: “My focus on the real time web triggered my interest in AdKeeper. As the rate of sharing information increases, users want to have a way to hold on to things — be it ads or content — and remain in control. A service like AdKeeper is long overdue.”
Jon Callaghan, AdKeeper Board Member; Founder, True Ventures; Former AOL Greenhouse, CMGI, said: “Our entire partnership has worked with Scott in one way or another – so funding him on the spot was pretty easy – especially when we started thinking about the elegance and scale of the AdKeeper opportunity.”
Lisa Cochrane, Vice President, Integrated Marketing Communications, Allstate Insurance Company, said: “Allstate is always seeking new and innovative ways to communicate with consumers and ensure they have the insurance protection they need. Our business is built entirely on trust and we like the idea of empowering consumers to engage with our products and services on their terms and in their trusted Keeper environment. AdKeeper is an exciting new way for us to communicate with our customers how, when and where they choose. It helps keep them in ‘Good Hands®’.”
Peggy Conlon, President and CEO of The Advertising Council said: “For nearly seven decades the Ad Council has utilized emerging media to reach our audiences with important and life-saving messages. Partnering with AdKeeper will allow us to continue to ensure that Ad Council campaigns are remembered, acted upon and continue to improve the lives of all Americans.”
David Cowan, AdKeeper Angel Investor; Partner, Bessemer Venture Partners; Co-Founder, Verisign, said: “I’m excited to see Scott put his energy and intellect at work on something so potentially game changing as AdKeeper. AdKeeper promises immortality for Internet ads — a compelling value proposition!”
Dixon Doll, AdKeeper Board Member; Co-Founder and General Partner of DCM, said: “Scott is one of the most creative and successful entrepreneurs DCM has ever backed. We are very proud sponsors of AdKeeper and look forward to participating in the improvement of Internet advertising that Scott and his phenomenal team know so well.”
Esther Dyson, Angel Investor and former host of PC Forum, said: “AdKeeper is so simple, and so useful. It does just one thing…well. And it has a business model to die for.”
Bob Greenberg, Chairman/CEO, R/GA, said: “AdKeeper’s core proposition of putting users in control of when and how they consume advertising breaks serious new ground for creative execution. Making ads Keepable – and getting feedback through Keep metrics – will have a big impact on digital advertising.”
Josh Kopelman, Founder, First Round Capital; Founder Half.com; Co-Founder, Infonautics, said: “I love the scale and simplicity of the AdKeeper platform. This is an audacious move, but so was About.com, and the industry’s stars are neatly aligned for this kind of dramatic change to Internet advertising.”
Kenneth Lerer, Chairman and Co-Founder of The Huffington Post, Manager of Lerer Ventures, Chairman of Betaworks and Chairman of BuzzFeed, said: “AdKeeper is a core piece of Internet functionality that simply hasn’t existed. I’m glad we’ll finally have the ability to save, revisit, organize and engage with ads online and I’m excited to help bring Scott’s vision to the marketplace.”
Wenda Harris Millard, President of MediaLink LLC., said: “Scott and I have been having a good natured debate about behavioral vs. adjacency advertising for as long as I can remember. I’m pleased to support his quest to bring them both together for the first time. Everything in the Keeper is 100% ‘behaviorally’ opt in. I can’t think of a better adjacency environment.”
Janet Robinson, President and CEO of The New York Times Company said, “We’re so pleased with the platform that Scott and his team pioneered at About.com that there was little question about supporting him in his next major effort. I’m excited to see the inventive advertising that is being created for the AdKeeper system.”
David Rosenblatt, Former President of Google Global Display Advertising; Former CEO of DoubleClick; Board Member IAC, said: “I instantly loved AdKeeper. This should have been done a long time ago.”
Bijan Sabet, Partner, Spark Capital; Board Member, Twitter, Boxee, SendMe, said: “I especially like the blend of personal utility and community of AdKeeper, not to mention the true platform scale that’s inherent in benefiting every Internet advertiser.”
Shiv Singh, Head of Digital, PepsiCo Americas Beverages said: “Here at Pepsi we believe that a groundbreaking solution like AdKeeper can help us engage consumers in deeper, more relevant ways over time by providing real value. AdKeeper is an innovative service that will further help us shift our digital strategy from impressions to experiences.”
Marty St. George, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Commercial Strategy, JetBlue Airways, said: “At JetBlue, online marketing is crucial to our brand. AdKeeper is an exciting new service that allows our customers to improve their online purchasing experience through ‘Keeps’ and helps us strengthen our brand story on a one-to-one basis in the customer’s private Keeper.”
Matt VanDyke, Director Marketing Communications – U.S. Ford & Lincoln Mercury, Ford Motor Company, said: “At Ford we believe advertising should be useful and not interrupt natural online activities. The introduction of ‘Keeping’ aligns with our strategy to provide our customers with useful information that they can use when it’s most convenient for them. The AdKeeper MoreSpot will be a valuable tool for us to guide highly engaged consumers as they consider Ford products.”
The Who’s Who of AdKeeper
“AdKeeper’s leadership team is one of superior management skills, experience, creativity and maturity. MaryAnn Bekkedahl, Todd Sloan, Steve Neiker, and Bruce Winterton are the most talented group of individuals I’ve ever worked with. Many thanks to James & Co. for the early support as our virtual HR team and to Marshall Cohen Associates for their initial research,” said Scott Kurnit, Founder.
Scott Kurnit, Founder, Chairman, CEO
Scott’s responsibility at AdKeeper is to make it wildly successful. He also serves on the Boards of Appssavvy, Brightcove, Dotomi, Goodmail, Mashlogic, OpenSky, SendMe Mobile, and The Paley Center for Media. He is an advisor to About, Black Arrow, Mashery and SmartBrief.
Scott founded and served as chairman and CEO of About, Inc. as it grew to a public market value of $1.7 billion and was the 5th largest of all Web properties. About invented the forerunner to Google’s AdSense in Sprinks (purchased by Google in 2003) and the first family of ad networks in Luna. About Japan (separate company) had its IPO in 2005 reaching a value of $1.5 billion. Kurnit sold About U.S. to Primedia in 2001 for $724 million. About is now owned by the New York Times Company.
Scott has founded four companies, all of which continue operating today. He’s a holder of four patents, led the team that embedded the first web browser into an online service, started the first Pay Per View cable network and co-led the team that implemented the first use of national caller ID. He was also the youngest program director in the PBS system and served as program director for Qube, the world’s first fully interactive cable system. He was president of Showtime Event Television when it generated the largest one night gross in the entertainment business and aired the first rock concert (broadcast in 70 countries) from the former Soviet Union.
Scott has been a Filmmaker, TV Director, Station Program Manager, Marketer and CEO. He has worked at the highest levels of Warner, Viacom, News Corp., PBS, IBM, and MCI companies.
Todd Sloan, COO/CFO
Todd is responsible for making sure everything runs great day in and day out. He has spent 25 years as a senior financial and operations executive in the media and digital media industries. He has extensive experience in the public markets, mergers and acquisition activities and operations and was CFO during the sale of two public companies, each selling for north of $700 million. Previously, Todd was Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Nielsen NetRatings, Inc. where he led the company through six successful years in the public markets.
Prior to Nielsen, Todd was Chief Financial Officer of About Inc., where he led the company through its initial public and secondary offerings. Todd also served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Sony Worldwide Networks and prior to that spent ten years in the media practice at Ernst & Young. Todd holds a B.B.A. in finance and accounting from the University of Wisconsin / Madison.
MaryAnn Bekkedahl, Chief Revenue Officer
MaryAnn is responsible for all relationships with AdKeeper’s advertising partners. She is a proven media executive with 18 years experience in consumer magazine and website publishing. Prior to joining AdKeeper, she was EVP, Group Publisher at Rodale, a global content company in health and wellness, and the publisher of the Men’s Health, Women’s Health and Prevention properties amongst others. MaryAnn led the advertising sales and trade marketing efforts for all Rodale print and digital properties, integrated marketing programs, corporate ad sales and custom publishing.
MaryAnn was named Adweek Media’s “Publishing Executive of the Year” in 2009. She has earned spots for her brands on the prestigious and highly coveted trade lists including AdWeek’s Hot List, and Advertising Age’s A-List. min magazine named her one of the “Most Intriguing People” of 2004, Gotham magazine named her one of its “40 under 40” in 2003, and Advertising Age named her a “Woman to Watch” in 2003. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan.
Bruce Winterton, Chief Marketing Officer
Bruce is responsible for marketing the AdKeeper service to consumers and helping the advertising industry invent award-winning Keepable advertising. He brings to AdKeeper more than 20 years of marketing and advertising experience in digital and traditional media. Most recently, Bruce was President of The Barbarian Group, a digital services firm and one of FastCompany’s Top 50 Most Innovative Companies. Bruce has also worked at Ogilvy & Mather, Bartle Bogle Hegarty, Miller Brewing Company and Kraft Foods and helped develop HelloMoto, Johnnie Walker’s Keep Walking, the Axe launch and Miller’s High Life Man campaigns.
Bruce has been named to the AdAge 100 and Creativity Magazine’s Creative Top 50. A fourth generation Californian, he has an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management and an undergraduate degree from the University of California at Berkeley.
Steve Nieker, Chief Technology Officer
Steve is responsible for the technology that makes every ad on the Internet Keepable and for making sure millions and millions of private Keepers™ run like a charm. His prior technology effort was the co-founding of Sphere, the leader for generating related content between the blogosphere and mainstream media using highly scaled infrastructure. Sphere was acquired by AOL in 2008 and continues to operate today as Surphace.
Steve founded his first successful media-technology company at the age of 23, and he has consulted to Fortune 500 corporations including AT&T Wireless, Corporate Express, and Quantum. As a founder of Think Tank 23, which he operated prior to Sphere, he built the first Web-wide blog crawling and text extraction engine, and pioneered the adaptive page-analytics system that powers Surphace, for which he holds a patent.
Steve has pioneered building decentralized engineering organizations for more than 15 years. He continues that practice at AdKeeper, virtually bringing together the most talented, collaborative, and entrepreneurial engineers from across the Internet.
The AdKeeper Advisory Board
Jeremy Allaire is the Founder, Chairman and CEO of Brightcove, the leading Online Video Platform. Prior to founding Brightcove, Mr. Allaire was technologist and entrepreneur-in-residence for venture capital firm General Catalyst, where he worked on companies and investments in broadband media, mobile content, e-commerce software and digital identity. Mr. Allaire was previously CTO of Macromedia, where he helped define and launch the Macromedia MX platform for Rich Internet Applications, helping to evolve Macromedia Flash into a dominant platform on the Internet. He joined Macromedia with its merger with Allaire Corporation, where Allaire was a co-founder and CTO.
John Battelle is Chairman, CEO and Founder of Federated Media Publishing, as well as a journalist. He has been a visiting professor of journalism at the University of California, Berkeley and also maintains Searchblog, a weblog covering search, technology, and media. Battelle is one of the original founders of Wired magazine, the founder of The Industry Standard magazine and website, and “band manager” of the collaborative weblog Boing Boing. He studied at Polytechnic School and the University of California, Berkeley, earning both a B.A. in Anthropology, and a Masters in Journalism. Since 2004, Battelle has been the program chair and co-moderator, along with Tim O’Reilly, of the annual Web 2.0 Summit, originally known as the “Web 2.0 Conference.” In 2005, he published The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture, chronicling the rise of online search engines and, specifically, Google. He was named 2009 Publisher of the Year by Razorfish, was named to Adweek’s 2009 Digital Hotlist and received the 2010 Sales Excellence Award from IAB.
John Borthwick, is CEO, Betaworks and former SVP Technology and Alliances at Time Warner, Inc. He is also the past CEO of Fotolog. Borthwick’s company, WP-Studio, founded in 1994, was one of the first content studios in New York’s Silicon Alley. He holds an MBA from Wharton and an undergraduate degree in Economics from Wesleyan University.
Peggy Conlon President and Chief Executive Officer of The Advertising Council, an organization that mobilizes more than $1.5 billion of advertising time and space yearly, the creative services of over 50 major advertising agencies, and related financial support from hundreds of corporations. Ms. Conlon serves on the Board of Trustees of the United Way Worldwide. She also served on the Board of Directors for C-Change (formerly the National Dialogue on Cancer), as an appointee of President George Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush and continues to direct C-Change’s communications efforts. Ms. Conlon was previously Vice President, Group Publisher of the Broadcasting & Cable Group at Cahners Business Information. She also served as a public affairs officer in the U.S. Naval Reserve for seven years. Ms. Conlon was awarded the New York Women in Communications Matrix Award for Advertising in 2002 and was named Advertising Woman of the Year by Advertising Women of New York in 2006.
David Cowan has been a Partner at Bessemer Venture Partners since 1992 funding internet startups like Blue Nile, Hotjobs, LinkedIn, Playdom and Postini. In 1995 he cofounded Verisign as a Bessemer-funded spinout of RSA and served as VeriSign’s initial Chairman. With more than 20 IPOs in his portfolio, the first Forbes Midas List ranked David among the world’s top 10 venture investors. David’s current portfolio includes Delivery Agent, GetInsured, Lifelock, LinkedIn, Nominum, Reputation Defender, Smule, Skybox and Zoosk. David received both his A.B. in math and computer science and his M.B.A. degrees from Harvard, and he now blogs at WhoHasTimeForThis.com.
Esther Dyson began her education shortly after graduating from Harvard with a degree in economics. Since then she has been a fact-checker for Forbes Magazine, a Wall Street equity analyst, editor of the newsletter Release 1.0, author of the book “Release 2.0: A design for living in the digital age,” host of the annual PC Forum (1983-2007), a cosmonaut in training and an active angel investor in the US and Europe including Russia. Currently she sits on a few too many boards, including 23andMe, Airship Ventures, Eventful, Evernote, Meetup, WPP Group, Voxiva and Yandex, as well as the Long Now Foundation and the Sunlight Foundation.
Bob Greenberg is the Chairman, CEO and Global Chief Creative Officer at R/GA. He also serves on the Boards of the 4A’s and the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Dean’s Council Advisory Board of Tisch School of the Arts, NYU ITP (Interactive Telecommunications Program), Parsons School, the Berlin School of Creative Leadership, and VCU Brandcenter. Mr. Greenberg, and his brother Richard, founded R/Greenberg Associates (R/GA) in 1977 with the idea of creating a company that values design, while focusing on developing leading-edge motion graphics and live-action film and video production. The company created groundbreaking visual effects for movies, including Alien, Predator, Seven, and Zelig. R/GA’s body of work spans 400 feature films and 4,000 television commercials. Today, he leads the vision for an agency that serves as the digital partner for Fortune 500 companies and world-renowned brands, including Barnes & Noble, Johnson & Johnson, L’Oréal Paris, MasterCard, Hewlett-Packard, Nike, Nokia, Taco Bell, and Wal-Mart. R/GA was recently recognized by Adweek as the “Digital Agency of the Decade.”
Kenneth Lerer is the Chairman and Co-Founder of the Huffington Post. He is also Manager of Lerer Ventures and Chairman of Betaworks and BuzzFeed. Previously, Mr. Lerer was an EVP of AOL Time Warner and was a founding partner of New York based Robinson, Lerer, and Montgomery. He teaches at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He has also taught at the University of Pennsylvania and New York University.
Wenda Harris Millard is the President of MediaLink LLC. Before joining MediaLink, Ms. Millard was Co-CEO and President of Media for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. and previously served on its Board of Directors. Her previous experience includes serving as Chief Sales Officer at Yahoo! where she led the team that drove revenue from $700 million to over $6 billion in six years, was Chief Internet Officer at Ziff Davis Media and President of Ziff Davis Internet. Earlier, Ms. Millard was a founding member of the executive team at DoubleClick, where she served as Executive Vice President responsible for establishing the DoubleClick brand and overseeing the operations of DoubleClick Media. She also served as President and Group Publisher of SRDS, Senior Vice President and Publisher of Family Circle and Executive Vice President/Group Publisher of Adweek, Mediaweek and Brandweek magazines.
Janet Robinson is the President and CEO of The New York Times Company, with primary responsibility for overseeing and coordinating all of the Company’s operations and business units and for working closely with the chairman to chart the future direction of the Company. Previously, she had served as COO and Executive Vice President. Ms. Robinson previously served as SVP of newspaper operations for all of the Company’s newspaper properties, which include The New York Times, Boston Globe, International Herald Tribune and regional newspapers. Earlier, Ms. Robinson served as group senior vice president for the advertising sales and marketing unit of The New York Times Company Women’s Magazine Group. She previously held several sales management positions with Golf Digest and Tennis Magazine that were formerly owned by The New York Times Company.
David Rosenblatt is a director of IAC and the former CEO of DoubleClick and former President of Global Display Advertising at Google, where he was responsible for display advertising sales and product strategy globally. Before his promotion to CEO of DoubleClick Mr. Rosenblatt was President of the company. Earlier, Mr. Rosenblatt spent several years at S.G. Warburg & Co, in Hong Kong, London and New York and served as its Investment Banker, and was responsible for advising on mergers, divestitures, IPOs and other strategic transactions for international and domestic clients. In 2007, he was named #15 on the Silicon Alley Insider’s list of the 100 most influential people in New York digital business. In 2003, he was recognized as one of New York’s rising stars by Crain’s New York Business, on their (40 Under 40) list.
Bijan Sabet has been a General Partner at Spark Capital since its inception in 2005. It is fitting that his bio would be so closely linked to the personality of the firm. Bijan is not an observer of the confluence. He lives in it. In fact, he is probably Twittering as you read this. Bijan led Spark’s investments in Boxee, Bug Labs, ExtensionFM, OMGPOP, SendMe, thePlatform (acquired by Comcast), Tumblr and Twitter. Prior to joining Spark, Bijan was Senior Vice President, Corporate Development of GameLogic after serving as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Charles River Ventures (CRV). Before his work at CRV, Bijan was Vice President, Business Development and Product Management at Moxi Digital, where he was responsible for establishing and managing strategic relationships with cable and satellite operators as well as driving product strategy. In this role, Bijan was part of the early team that introduced the MoxiMedia Center, a low-cost replacement for a digital cable or satellite set-top box that integrates digital video recording, a music jukebox, a DVD player, and an Internet gateway into one device that wirelessly networks video, audio and broadband connectivity throughout the home. Moxi later merged with Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s Digeo and is currently deployed by Charter, Comcast and Adelphia Cable.
George F. Schweitzer is President of the CBS Marketing Group. He was previously Executive Vice President, Marketing and Communications, CBS. Mr. Schweitzer was honored with the PROMAX Brand Builder Award and the PROMAX Pinnacle Award for his leadership in television marketing and promotion. He was named Entertainment Marketer of the Year by Entertainment Weekly and EPM Communications, named a Marketer of the Year by Brandweek magazine and twice named to the Advertising Age Marketing 100. In addition, he was honored with Entertainment Weekly’s first Marketing Executive of the Year Award. Mr. Schweitzer first joined CBS in 1972 and held several positions in radio and television production, including production supervisor of many CBS Television Network, CBS News and CBS Sports broadcasts.