Late last week, VINDICO, the big online video ad serving company, launched a new product called Adtricity, which is meant to standardize quality rankings for both video advertisers and content publishers. Matt Timothy, VINDICO's president, explained to me his belief that in order for online video advertising to continue scaling, both the buy and the sell sides of the ecosystem need stronger measurement of both viewability and verification.
Matt cites the explosion of ad networks that VINDICO works with, numbering 128 in 2012 (up from 50 in 2010) as a key reason for Adtricity's development. Because networks can be under pressure to deliver on their commitments, this can lead to ad placements that aren't quite what the advertiser thought it was getting, though they still contribute to delivery goals. Matt thinks of Adtricity as turning a "flood light" on the market, which will help all sides achieve better quality.
To do so, Adtricity is crawling sites and returning various measures of both ad quality and site quality. For example, Adtricity assesses the content to determine whether the sites are sketchy or whether ads ran below the fold, or with audio off, and other ways ad delivery quality can be diminished. VINDICO then rolls up these measures into a letter grade ranking across 4 different categories (see below). Publishers would be made aware of their grades and so they can remedy shortfalls. The grades are meant to start establishing common industry standards and trust in the system that's typical in TV advertising.
VINDICO is making Adtricity available to its clients for a small additional charge. Because VINDICO isn't an inventory source itself, Matt believes it is a Switzerland-like neutral party. So far Matt says he's received lots of positive feedback from the industry. With viewability and verification two of the hottest topics in the industry, Adtricity appears to be a timely and well thought-out solution that should help drive more transparency.