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For those following device finger-printing ad issues

From: Jules Polonetsky <julespol@futureofprivacy.org>
Date: Thu, 10 Nov 2011 09:38:15 -0500
To: <public-tracking@w3.org>
Message-ID: <003d01cc9fb6$61f0b150$25d213f0$@futureofprivacy.org>

The State Of BlueCava: CEO Norris On Device ID Strategy, Differentiation And Industry Trends

David Norris is CEO of BlueCava, a device ID technology company. The company recently announced $9.5 million in additionial venture funding. Read more.
As part of its "State of..." series of articles with industry executives, AdExchanger.com sat down with Norris to discuss his company, his views on the space, and the state of BlueCava today.

 AdExchanger.com: What do you think the biggest misconception is around BlueCava and its technology?
DN: I don't really hear a lot about misconceptions around our technology. From a consumer standpoint there is a big misconception that consumers have in general across the industry regarding cookies, and that is the general conception that if they clear their cookies that they are opting out. That's the biggest misconception that continues to hurt the industry because it doesn't help when consumers think they're doing one thing and actually something else happens.
For BlueCava, our solution offers a privacy benefit to the consumers which is better than what cookies offer, because in our case, when you make a choice regarding privacy, it doesn't change after you make that choice.
With cookies, you choose to opt out, and then if you clear your cookies you get opted back in, even if you didn't want to.
Yes, but the idea of a device ID being tracked by a company, a device ID that's connected to a consumer - I think that's raised some red flags with some folks. I'm just wondering how you overcome that?
Over the last 12 to 18 months, we've done a lot of work out in the industry, talking with groups on the privacy side and talking with the various industry groups to educate people on device ID. So I'd say right now I don't see a lot of misconceptions by consumers. I think if you look at what we do relative to what has traditionally been done with cookies, it's really very similar in the way that it works. You can opt-out. You can opt-in.
Perhaps 18 months ago there was some newness to the device ID and people didn't necessarily understand it. I think now through a fairly significant effort we've helped bring the education level up on what device ID is.
We don't get a lot of resistance like back in the beginning. There was much more questioning about what is device ID - people just didn't know.
Any thoughts about Apple deprecating the access of the UDID on the iPhone, and has there been any impact on BlueCava?
It is an interesting decision that Apple made, and they're obviously trying to protect their own business. It has caused quite a challenge for the advertising industry. For BlueCava, it's actually helped us. I think the benefit that we get is that our technology can help identify a device independent of the UDID. So when many businesses out there, mobile ad networks for example, had been using just the UDID as a way to do their targeting, when that went away then they were in trouble. With BlueCava, we don't use one identifier for that purpose. Our solution works whether the UDID is there or not.
So I believe that [UDID deprecation with Apple] has caused a significant amount of interest in our technology and our offering. From that point of view, it’s helped us.
What can you share regarding penetration you are getting right now with your technology? 

Our technology is being used across a broad set of companies. If you look at it from our perspective, we think of the devices that we're seeing - and we are on track to identify a large number of devices. Our goal is a billion devices by the middle of 2012. We're on track to do that. The scope of our technology goes from the advertiser on one end and the publisher on the other end through the players in the middle that make ads happen - the ad networks, ad exchanges and DSPs. Penetration has been above and beyond our expectations.
As I understand it, BlueCava tech is JavaScript-based and it works on smartphones. But on the feature phones, let's call them the dumb phones; it's not going to work because those of course don't read JavaScript. Are you thinking about solutions there?
That's correct. We focus our time and energy on Internet‑connected devices that are relatively smart, if you will. So we work on gaming consoles, all of the typical mobile devices, tablets and phones, and obviously desktops. But we've been embedded into all kinds of applications. So our primary ambition is to go after the platforms that have the biggest market share. Right now feature phones just don't represent a significant opportunity to us, and we think over the next couple of years they're going to, volume‑wise, die off in favor of the Androids and the iPhones of the world. So it's just not an area we invest much time in right now.
How is real‑time bidding (RTB) fitting in here?
We fully support RTB and think it is the future, for sure. It seems obvious. The capability of being able to pass a device ID from the front end side, from the publisher, all the way back to the demand side, we believe will be the way real‑time bidding really increases in its usage. There are some limitations today on real‑time bidding, being able to do certain things with cookies - that just doesn't work so well. And with device ID, we can provide the next generation of targeting technology that's needed to help RTB reach its full potential.
The idea of a device ID is to be a universal identifier for the device so that it can be shared across the various players to first, bid on an ad, and then actually to serve the ad. Our strategy is very much a long‑term one where we start off helping businesses to identify devices on the front end - so the publishers and advertisers as an example. And then we integrate with the players that help make the overall bidding process work.
If you watch what we're going to be doing over the next 12 months, you'll see BlueCava's technology integrated across the entire ecosystem in a way that we think will really make a big difference.
At some point or right now, ad networks can basically buy the IDs? That's why you're saying it's real‑time biddable – as in a third party network can come in and buy the users and buy the placements on the publisher's site? Is that how it works?
That's right. You can think of it long‑term similar to how people will buy audiences today - by buying cookies, buying audience represented by cookies. You can do the same thing with device IDs. We can aggregate audiences that are much more detailed and specific than you can with cookies. And you can buy entire audiences based on device IDs. And of course, we can map device IDs to cookies. So for those companies that want to use the cookie‑based infrastructure today, they can use that no problem and still use device ID.
Downstream, we think more and more businesses will eventually move towards using just device ID simply because it offers a much greater set of features and capabilities, and the need for cookies will eventually be less and less.
Continued at http://www.adexchanger.com/the-state-of/bluecava-norris/

Jules Polonetsky
Received on Thursday, 10 November 2011 14:38:47 UTC

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