Kochava And The FTC Head Back To Court; Troubles Abound For GroupM

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Location, Location, Location

The FTC’s consumer privacy case against Kochava is back on the docket.

Last year, the consumer watchdog accused the mobile app analytics platform of selling users’ geolocation data in an open market. However, the presiding judge threw out the FTC’s case, claiming it failed to outline harms to consumers.

The FTC refiled its case under temporary seal. On Friday, Kochava lost its bid to keep the latest version under wraps.

The unsealed document reveals new details on the FTC’s case against the company, according to Law360.

The FTC says Kochava ties users’ mobile ad IDs (MAIDs) to sensitive personal information, including name, home address, email address and physical locations they’ve visited. It accuses Kochava of selling this information to any client that completes a simple form.

Kochava has allegedly approved these data requests without any follow-up as to how the client plans to use that data. A data request for a single user can net Kochava $25,000.

Privacy advocates fear such data could be used to target vulnerable groups, such as users who have crossed state lines to visit abortion clinics. The FTC is seeking an injunction barring Kochava from tying users’ MAIDs to their location data, which would have major implications for geolocation data vendors.

Stop Digging

GroupM is in a bit of a hole, particularly highlighted following the recent departure of North America CEO Kirk McDonald, and there are no immediate signs of its troubles abating, Digiday reports.

The media buying unit of agency holdco WPP has had a bumpy ride this year, losing $155 million globally in client accounts. In North America, which is on particularly shaky ground, high-profile clients like Uber, Walgreens, L’Oréal and General Mills have decamped for rival agencies.

That’s not to say GroupM hasn’t had any wins. Its Wavemaker division won more than $1.2 billion in new business in the first half of 2023, and GroupM netted PayPal as a global client.

Still, there’s no guarantee GroupM will bounce back.

The pressure is on to fix performance problems as tech companies continue to dial back ad spend and the agency’s data and tech strategy still hasn’t quite found its footing. Not to mention GroupM’s bribery scandal in China.

Whoever replaces Kirk McDonald will have their work cut out for them.

Bravo’s Bravado 

After BravoCon last weekend, NBCUniversal announced new shoppable ads for Walmart items on Monday using the shoppable ad platform NBCU unveiled earlier this year.

Some upcoming episodes of Bravo’s “Below Deck” on Peacock will allow viewers to click through product catalogs on-screen or scan a QR code to shop for items on mobile.

NBCU’s new shoppable suite includes CTV ad formats from BrightLine and AI tech from KERV Interactive to identify objects on-screen. NBCU’s integration with Walmart gives the programmer access to retail data so it can highlight products that are actually available in-store or online. Checkout happens through Walmart, too.

But digital marketers also want to add CTV to their retargeting campaigns, which is why Peacock users who opted in to data sharing will then see personalized ads on Walmart.com for the products they just saw on “Below Deck.”

Advertisers will drive more sales from their CTV ad budgets when viewers can shop for what they see on TV immediately (as opposed to relying solely on a non-TV device), according to William White, chief marketing officer of Walmart’s US business.

But Wait, There’s More!

Epic Games brings its antitrust case against Google to trial this week. [The Washington Post]

Thousands of people are uninstalling ad blockers following YouTube’s global crackdown. [Engadget]

Meanwhile, YouTube is testing a ‘play something’ button to play seemingly random video content for people who don’t know what to watch. [The Verge]

And speaking of YouTube testing, it’s also wading deeper into gen AI waters with a conversational tool and comments summarizer. [TechCrunch]

Where the heck is X CEO Linda Yaccarino? [Wired]

Yaccarino’s boss, Elon Musk, has a new pet project: Grok, an AI chatbot that’s like ChatGPT, but snarky for some reason. [The Guardian]

Big Tech-backed chatbots have a false hallucination rate of between 3% and 27%. [NYT]

You’re Hired!

Disney poaches PepsiCo exec Hugh Johnson as its new CFO. [NextTV]

Bumble appoints Lidiane Jones to CEO. [The Wall Street Journal]

Read the original article here.

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Rich Kentopp
VP, Product Management

After his career of being a pastor and touring musician, Rich started his technology career almost a decade ago with many of the KERV leadership at Lin Digital. Since then he has been a Product leader at three different scaling startups, learning how to build valuable products with teams who love to work together.

Devin Monds
Head of EMEA Sales

Devin is a dedicated and experienced media sales professional with over 15 years in the digital media space in both North America and EMEA. He most recently headed up the International Team at Adludio, the premier advertising platform for delivering strong creative on mobile devices. Prior to his role at Adludio, Devin worked on the Global Brand Partnerships team at CAA Sports in London, and was International Sales Director at LoopMe where he built out the US West Coast Sales Team from Los Angeles. With a proven track record of new business development and revenue generation, Devin has a multitude of solid relationships with brands and agencies, globally.

He relishes the opportunity to engage with new clients on a daily basis, in order to identify tailored solutions that can drive their desired outcomes. Furthermore, he takes pride in his culinary skills, often experimenting with new recipes and delivering delectable results.

    Brad Quinn
    SVP, Enterprise & Publisher Partnerships

    Brad Quinn is the SVP, Enterprise & Publisher Partnerships based out of our NYC office. He has over 15 years of experience across Agencies, Publishers and Tech. At KERV, Brad leads the Partnerships team focused on content providers and distributors. He integrates KERV’s tech capabilities across ads and content to create a real‑time interactive/shoppable experience.

    David Knight
    VP, Engineering

    Before joining KERV in 2018, David Knight spent over 31 years building software products for large corporations like IBM and Schlumberger, 3-person “garage” startups and everything in between. He’s spent the last 15 years discovering and refining the tools, development process, and necessary culture that create great Engineering teams capable of meeting the special demands of technology driven startups.

    Dan Bloomfield
    VP, Technical Ad Operations

    After spending time living in New York and working for NBC Universal’s first digital operations team Daniel moved to Austin in 2009 to further pursue ad tech. During the next decade, he built a career working on interactive video first for Sizmek and then Nexstar. He immediately jumped at the idea to work for KERV and was one of the first to join the company in 2017.

    Creed Pettit
    SVP, Head of Partnerships

    Creed Pettit is an entrepreneurial sales executive offering experience in all aspects of solutions selling, team management, negotiation, organizational leadership, go-to-market strategies and momentum driven models. Prior to joining KERV, Creed served as Media & Entertainment Vertical Sales Leader, Global Business Solutions at TikTok.

    Karen Germ
    VP of Marketing

    Karen Germ is a seasoned marketing and communications professional with a nearly 15‑year history serving in leadership roles across the advertising and technology landscape. Most recently, Karen served as OAAA’s VP of Marketing where she implemented industry leading initiatives to elevate and promote the power of OOH for advertisers, agencies, partners and consumers. 

    Ryan Schoenfeld
    VP, Technical Partnerships

    Ryan Schoenfeld’s career started as an intern at a smaller digital media agency while attending the University of Texas. Since then, he has spent over 15 years working in the programmatic advertising/video space.

    Bill Roberson
    VP, Creative Strategy & Design

    Bill Roberson has worked in the digital space for over 17 years, spanning Media Buying, Ad Operations, Analytics and Optimization, Account Management and now Creative.

    Grant Gorton
    VP, UX & Design

    Grant has been with KERV as VP of Creative for over 5 years, and has worked as a designer and creative director at agencies and media companies for the last 17 years.

    Michael Fleischman
    Chief Financial Officer

    Michael Fleischman serves as the Chief Financial Officer at KERV Interactive in addition to being an Executive Residence at Progress Partners, a Merchant Investment Bank and Venture Fund. Prior to KERV Interactive, Michael was the CFO and current Board Member at Digital Remedy, a privately-held media execution company supporting agencies, publishers, and brands in navigating the complex adtech landscape of digital success.

    Previous to Digital Remedy, Michael spent 20 years at Cablevision and Rainbow Media Holdings during which he was instrumental in the launch and management of multiple regional sports networks and a number of national cable networks including American Movie Classics, Bravo, The Independent Film Channel as well as the structuring of partnerships with companies including Liberty Media, NBC, Fox/NewsCorp, and MGM. 

    A native of the New York City area, Michael resides with his wife where he enjoys biking, tennis  and spending time with his wife and three adult children.

    Taylor Pate
    Chief Technology Officer

    Taylor Pate serves as Chief Technology Officer at KERV Interactive. Taylor’s experiences in the advertising and creative industry spans 14. He began his career in 2008, working as a designer, animator and art director specializing in the design and production of interactive art. Early in his career, he created 3D character animations and tools for best-selling video game series The Sims while working at Edge of Reality, who developed video games for Nintendo 64, GameCube, PlayStation and Xbox.

    In 2012, Taylor made the shift to work in-house at an online advertising and media services agency, LIN Digital, where he was promoted multiple times in a four-year span. He worked on a variety of online, interactive projects for clients while also developing and automating internal tools and processes. Taylor then spent the next two years working as the director of engineering at multi-platform digital media company HYFN Local, a division of multi-billion-dollar corporation Nexstar Digital LLC.

    Jay Wolff
    Chief Revenue Officer

    Jay Wolff serves as Chief Revenue Officer at KERV Interactive, leading global revenue and partnerships, in addition to being the Executive Vice President of 212 NYC, New York’s leading organization for the digital advertising industry. 

    Jay’s expertise in revenue and partner growth in the advertising industry spans 19 years. Most recently, Jay served as CRO of Varick Media, and Chief Growth Officer at Boostr, the first end-to-end SaaS revenue management system for media companies. Previously, as Regional Vice President of SambaTV, Wolff built the revenue organization and east coast market from the ground up. 

    Prior to joining SambaTV, Wolff served as Vice President of agency and brand partnerships at PulsePoint; instrumental to the merger of ContextWeb and Datran Media.

    Jay holds a BS in Marketing from Syracuse University and a Certificate of Management from the University of Chicago. He resides in Rye Brook, NY with his wife and daughter, Olivia. 

    Dan Bienenfeld

    Before co‑founding KERV in 2017, Dan Bienfeld spent the previous 35 years founding six start‑ups in various verticals such as publishing, licensing, med‑tech and ad‑tech. Within these companies, he enjoyed two meaningful exits, which provided him with the ability to continue his passion as an entrepreneur. 

    Aside from bringing together ‘Rock Star Talent,’ his main focus has been raising over $50M, primarily for the startups identified above, as well as creating strategic partnerships. Currently he lives in Westlake Village, CA with his wife and two kids. In addition to his entrepreneurial journey, he also enjoys working out, traveling and an addiction to sushi.

    Gary Mittman
    Chief Executive Officer

    Gary Mittman brings more than 30 years of experience in technology and direct marketing, as well as substantial experience in building startups to exit with creativity and agile development. Before starting KERV, he held numerous top‑ranking leadership roles, including Founder & President of Nami Media (which was acquired by Lin Media/Nexstar Media Group), CEO & Founder of Marina Communications (also acquired), and Vice President of New Business Development, Direct Response at Western International Media (now Initiative Media).

    Gary also brings a decade of experience in the entertainment industry, including managing all booking for New York City’s premiere performance night club, The Ritz, as its Executive Manager and Booking Agent, Executive Producer of the MTV concert series ‘Live At The Ritz’, a Professional Manager at Chappell Music Publishing, and started out as an Assistant to legendary Clive Davis at Arista Records.

    Andi Fenster

    Andi Fenster went into the profession of Human Resources 30 years ago, because she believed from a young age that the way you treat your employees is what you get out of them. Her goal as an HR professional has been to help create the type of work environments that inspire folks to want to come to work. She is also a Management/Leadership/Career Coach and her focus is optimizing humans focusing on the mind‑body connection. 

    “We, each, have tremendous potential and the abilities to level‑up if we choose to understand how to get the support we need to get us there. Helping talent thrive and helping them create success is my reason for doing what I do.”

    Marika Roque
    Chief Innovation Officer

    Marika Roque is a top expert in digital media, data and organizational infrastructures recognized with over 15 years of professional leadership experience. Previous to KERV, Marika worked as the vice president of digital operations for Mass2, a division of multi-billion-dollar corporation Nexstar Digital LLC. Prior to Mass2, Marika served as vice president of digital media activation at LIN Digital.

    Marika has held senior-level positions for leading advertising agencies in the Austin, Texas area including Sizmek and GSD&M. She also spent years in Chicago working for FCB Global and Starcom MediaVest Group. While at Starcom, Marika was recognized for her involvement in the creation of the first agency-side programmatic pipelines and what the industry now refers to as an agency trading desk.

    Marika holds a Bachelor’s in Advertising from The University of Texas at Austin, which she achieved while also participating as a former D1 collegiate athlete.