Adknowledge grabs a senior exec from Yahoo to build next-generation ad targeting platform

Adknowledge is announcing today that it has hired former Yahoo executive Usama Fayyad as its chief scientist. His job will be to help the company build its next-generation data analytics and ad targeting platform.

Formerly Yahoo’s chief data officer, Fayyad will help create a tool to help advertisers maximize their return-on-investment. Adknowledge automatically serves ads to consumers who are visiting web sites, particularly smaller sites that are not targeted by the big brands or the search engines. It serves particular ads to consumers based on what it knows (anonymously) about the ads those consumers have clicked upon.

Improving that ability to automatically target ads to the right people is a constant mission for AdKnowledge, said Scott Lynn, chief executive of Adknowledge in Kansas City, Mo.

“If you look at Usama’s background, he ran Yahoo’s research and was in charge of a lot of people who approach targeting and relevancy from a math-driven background,” Lynn said.

As advertisers expand beyond search advertising, Adknowledge’s aim is to help them spend their money wisely. Fayyad’s job, as a part-time advisor with a permanent title, will be to help make Adknowledge’s platform better and better. Fayyad will also work on The Knowledge Report, an analytics report offering insights for marketers who want to get better at targeting. The report will first appear in early 2011.

Adknowledge’s goal is to become the go-to company for internet advertisers. The company runs the fourth-largest advertiser market after Google, Bing and Facebook. As users move to social networks and online games, advertisers are chasing them, using Adknowledge’s automated, self-service www.bidsystem.comto reach consumers across a variety of media types.

Adknowledge can reach a lot of the same audience as the big search engines but at a lower cost-per click. Adknowledge says it delivers 290 million leads to more than 10,000 advertisers on an annual basis.

Since its founding in 2004, Adknowledge has grown organically and through acquisitions (including Miva, Super Rewards and Hydra) to become the largest privately-owned internet advertising network, with over 300 employees and $300 million in revenue. The company raised $48 million in 2006 from Technology Crossover.

Rivals include Offerpal, which has since renamed itself Tapjoy, as well as TrialPay.

Fayyad currently serves as the chief executive of Open Insights, a strategic consulting company.

Published by: VentureBeat (


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