Shine, the company best known for its attempts to implement carrier-level mobile ad-blocking, is rebranding as ‘Rainbow‘. Last year the EU introduced new rules that prohibited network-level ad-blocking, but acknowledged the rights of consumers to install ad-blockers. Under the new name of Rainbow, the Israeli company will no longer sell ad-blocking to mobile carriers or ISP’s and plans instead to go straight to the consumer to persuade them to opt-in instead.
At the consumer level, here’s how it works:
Shine are going to be running a consumer marketing campaign, featuring ads like this one:
Then, assuming the user opts in:
- Ads are submitted to be verified by Rainbow in the same way any other brand safety service works.
- Rainbow verifies ads against industry established standards (LEAN, Flex, etc.).
- Verified ads are digitally ‘stamped’.
- Consumers who have opted-into Rainbow will only see Rainbow verified ads.
- Consumers who have opted-into Rainbow will not see ads that have failed Rainbow verification — these will be filtered out.
So how does Rainbow make money? And from whom? Well for a start the company is keen to stress that it isn’t building an ‘acceptable ads’ ad network similar to the approach taken by Eyeo, the company behind AdBlock Plus. The verification process will be free for both advertisers and publishers, but Rainbow will charge for insights and data services.
VAN asked James Collier, Rainbow’s CRO, how the company is going to make money and to explain how carriers are going to benefit. “Let me just make one thing clear — we are not interested in being gatekeepers — ad verification is free, as is our ability to optimise delivery with S2S infrastructure inside the carrier network. We do not decide who is good and who is bad, we algorithmically determine which ads pass based upon industry standard on a creative-by-creative basis. There are no whitelists, no ‘special relationships’ – and most importantly no fee to access consumers. And all of it can be done in advance, by any party, which means to all intent and purposes, no ad placement ever need go unfilled.”
“What we do to make money is bring feature parity to advertisers and content creators to create new levels of relevance to our consumers; Custom audiences? Check. Deterministic demographic targeting? Yes. Clear insight on placement, targeting and performance? Absolutely. All of these features and more are our bread and butter, are completely optional and the proceeds from which are shared with our carrier partners. The first revenue stream in the world that provides carriers with ad based revenue that actually serves their core business asset – the consumer. No arbitration and no ring fencing, no alien OPEX fighting for budget against larger business. It’s completely harmonious,” he added.
When asked about the data services Rainbow would be providing, Collier said, “Data services is a broad term and rightly so, as there are many parties that benefit, but to be more specific we are acting as a marketing systems integrator (SI) for our carrier partners – allowing them to bypass inhibiting internal procurement processes in order to unlock new revenue streams faster and more efficiently. This means that 3rd party data services such as the marketing clouds (Salesforce, Experian, Oracle et al) can connect to us and link their email, social and customer activity to advertising in an entirely new way. It means that publishers can work directly with brands to create their own custom audiences (a la Facebook) to create new types of sales programs. In the future there’s every possibility that it could be used to create and serve research units within these organisations that provide real-time feedback on not just ad targeting, but content development and targeting also.”
One major challenge the company faces is legitimacy, although having consumers opt-in will undoubtedly help on that side of the fence. The other side, the industry side, is likely to be more tricky. Whilst Rainbow claim that ‘”the advertising industry” recognises that Rainbow’s objective is to help all stakeholders cooperate in order to provide a better ad experience for consumers”, the various trade associations have yet to publicly support Rainbow’s verification process. Rainbow have joined the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) and claims it is in the process of joining other associations, but that’s a far cry from being officially recognised as “the guardian of the user experience”, as Rainbow purports to be.
Ultimately, Rainbow looks set to face challenges similar to those it faced when it was branded Shine i.e. can a private, for-profit company function as an independent, honest and recognised intermediary between consumers and the advertising industry?