A blockchain startup wants to let people buy tokens so they can pick which sites are worthy of ads


  • The startup MetaX wants to use blockchain technology to create a list of safe websites for advertisers.
  • Consumers and people in the ad industry will be able to purchase crypto tokens to vote on which publications are included on the adChain registry.
  • Dave Strauss, director, revenue operations & analytics at Hearst, believes the concept will resonate with professionals and regular people.
  • The hope is that this list is employed industry wide, which will make it harder for ad fraudsters to operate and send more business toward reputable publishers. 

Lots of startups has emerged in the past year promising to use blockchain technology to track digital advertising transactions.

MetaX says blockchain can actually keep brands out of trouble.

The company, which is working on a slew of blockchain-based products for digital ads, is introducing the adChain registry, which promises to help the ad industry establish a universal list of websites that are safe for everyone. 

Anyone, from consumers to ad tech executives to marketers themselves, can vote on which sites are included on the registry using tokens they purchase on the web, and their votes will be recorded automatically via the Ethereum blockchain.

There are 600 million such tokens available, with secondary market values starting at around 6 cents each, said Alanna Gombert, MetaX global chief revenue officer. There is a 1 billion token cap on adToken.

Even at that price, it’s hard to know whether the average person will open his or her wallet to pay to vote on which sites are brands safe. That’s if they even understand what cryptocurrency or blockchain is. It’s not always that easy to get people to pay for content on the web.

Still, Dave Strauss, director, revenue operations & analytics at Hearst, believes the concept will resonate with professionals and regular people. “This has potential to make significant strides for our industry as it pushes for transparency in the marketplace while including valuable input from the typical internet user," he said.

Over the past few years digital advertising has been plagued by scam artists selling tons of ads on bogus websites visited only by bots, and all sorts of other forms of fraud. That’s led to numerous big name brands either wasting money on ads that nobody sees or finding their ads next to inappropriate content.

As a remedy, many advertisers have employed either ‘black lists’ (sites they want to stay away from) or ‘white lists’ (a limited number of sites they want to run ads on) for their programmatic campaigns.

Theoretically, a universal lists of safe sites that the broader community manages collectively would have broad appeal. Particularly one using blockchain tech, so that the list can’t be manipulated by anybody.

Over time, if such a list became robust and widely used, it would make it harder for fraudsters to operate, as advertisers would restrict their spending on approved sites – so the thinking goes.

That is, if people care enough to buy virtual tokens and vote on who makes it.

Gombert believes that consumers are passionate enough about digital experiences that some will buy tokens and vote. Initially, she predicts that ad operations staffers from major publishers will pounce on this opportunity, since they are the people that live and breathe all of digital advertising’s ills.

"They don’t get to speak publicly often, and they’re so frustrated with these issues," she said.

But won’t publishers be able to buy up lots of tokes and rig the registry to favor their sites? Gombert says there are various safeguards built into the system to prevent this sort of thing. For example, there is deliberately a lag built into the system so that sites don’t get voted in instantly.

And people can get locked out of using tokens if they buy too many too fast. Plus, voters won’t be able to unilaterally kick any publishers off of the adChain registry.

"You can propose to vote someone out of the registry but the community needs to agree with you," said Gombert.

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from SAI https://read.bi/2HOktFS