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FIM-SDC: Interview with Pete Levinsohn, President, FIM

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Pete Levinsohn had a coming-out party of sorts today as president of FIM, explaining the reasoning behind the company’s first major acquisition since he took over — an idea brought to him shortly after he moved to FIM late last year As for specifics, says Levinsohn, “We’re not disclosing [but] this is not an insignificant transaction for our company. We see this as a really big opportunity to monetize the network.” His measure is eCPMs — how Strategic Data Corp. can improve the effective cost per thousand impressions.
Why SDC? He describes the service as “a yield optimization tool.” “It’s all about the efficiency,” says Levinsohn; the internal example being tossed around was if someone’s in Wisconsin in the middle of winter you don’t want to send them ads for surfboards.” (Trips to Maui, maybe.) In FIM’s case, users already provide an immense amount of data via their MySpace profile pages; SDC will be able to match that data with the right ads.
Why buy? “We are one of the major players on the internet. All of the largest web publishers — Google, Yahoo, AOL — they all either bought or developed their own proprietary ad optimization software. We went through a process of ‘do we rent versus own’ and very clearly decided the best thing for us was to own the technology ourselves. It enables us to have much tighter integration with our core ad management systems; it enables us to customizes the technology for our sites.” FIM also will be able to cut back on the number of ad networks it uses: “We use 17 different ad networks today because of the massive size of our network. This is going to enable us to bring an enormous amount of that in house.”