Feb 18, 2019

Ad Lightning is now TAG “Certified Against Malware”

We are excited to announce that Ad Lightning is officially part of the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) Certified Against Malware Program. As the company states, their goal is to eliminate the distribution of malware throughout the digital advertising supply chain by establishing a method to coordinate the industry in its defense against malware peddlers.

To obtain a TAG “Certified Against Malware” seal, companies must comply with a rigorous set of guidelines related to their specific roles in the digital advertising supply chain, including the adoption of TAG’s Best Practices for Scanning Creative for Malware.

Our VP of Product, Paul Major, sat down to answer some questions about why we think being TAG certified is so important to us and our clients.

Why is TAG certification important for Ad Lightning?

TAG is recognized as the organization that is leading the charge to bring transparency and accountability to the digital ad industry. Gaining the TAG seal for Certified Against Malware requires a comprehensive review of the applicant’s approach for addressing malware in its various forms. By achieving our TAG certification as a “vendor” providing anti-malware services, we are now certified to be able to help our customers also achieve their own TAG compliance.

What does this mean for our new and existing partners?

The great news for our partners is now that our blocking solution has been certified, all of our clients that have it deployed will be in TAG compliance wherever it is applied. We have heard from many customers over the past year that were looking into getting their own TAG certification against malware, so we are really excited that we can now enable our customers that want to be in compliance.

What is the biggest problem you see TAG tackling this year?

A big focus for TAG is bringing more transparency into digital advertising with the goal of better facilitating malware event resolution and handling. This is an area where we feel like we are in a great position to help since we can identify who is in the chain when we block a specific ad. We have our own initiatives around surfacing this data for our publisher partners and streamlining delivery back to their network partners, so we are excited to be able to help further efforts around providing better transparency.

We believe in transparency and creating a digital advertising supply chain that helps publishers succeed without compromising user experience. This TAG certification brings us one more step closer to that goal.

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Jan 28, 2019

2018 Ad Lightning Highlights — It’s Been An Extraordinary Year!

by Scott Moore, Co-founder and CEO

As we wrap up the first month of the new year, I'd like to take a moment to reflect back on 2018. We closed out the year on a high note — graduating from a start-up to a rapidly growing company leading the space — so I wanted to take the time to thank everyone at Ad Lightning for their hard work and commitment and of course our valuable partners for their support.

We have learned a lot about the space since we first launched Ad Lightning in 2016. One of our initial goals was to help combat slow page loads. A report we released in 2017 revealed more than 40% of online ads are larger than industry standards, which slows down websites and annoys users with crawling load times. We worked hard to provide best in case solutions to combat this issue and continue to help our partners alleviate this problem today.

However, while slow page loads remains an evergreen problem for the industry, there is a greater sense of urgency on other fronts. Ad fraud is a $19 billion problem, and malware/redirects delivered through digital ads is a major part of that issue.  Over the past two years bad actors have only become more sophisticated and aggressive. Identifying, anticipating and blocking these malicious ads is a role we take pride in at Ad Lightning.

Looking back at 2018, I’m most proud our blocking solution that we released in March. We continue to protect over a billion impressions per day and have earned the trust of some of the world's largest publishers.  With our blocking capabilities, in addition to our GDPR and data leakage tools, Ad Lightning now offers the industry’s most comprehensive set of solutions to help publishers and ad exchanges manage programmatic advertising by preventing potentially malicious, offensive or non-compliant ad units from loading on a publisher’s site.  GeekWire took notice in this article from June.  

Looking into next year, Ad Lightning will be doubling down on our Blocking 2.0 solution that brings stronger malware and redirect protection, decreased latency and extended coverage for more ad servers and native units.  We're also exploring new solutions that extend our capabilities in-app and with video.

We ended the year with great press — AdExchanger featured our work with the Amobii fraudsters who were masquerading as the legitimate DSP Amobee and hijacking Claritin ads. They even created fake LinkedIn profiles (that LinkedIn took down after we notified them).  If you missed the article, read it here!

And on a personal note, I’m also humbled to announce that we've tripled our revenue over the course of the year — thanks to the loyalty of our satisfied clients and addition of many more — and we continue to rapidly grow.  A huge thanks to all our partners in the industry who are taking these challenges as seriously as we do.

It’s going to be another demanding year as we fight against bloated ads, ad fraud, malware and redirects — but I promise we will not be deterred. Looking forward to an exciting, challenging and gratifying 2019.

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Jan 18, 2019

Ask the Expert: Q & A with Ad Lightning's Head of Partner Success

At Ad Lightning, we pride ourselves on our relationships with our customers. As we grow, we're working hard to make sure that our best-in-class service remains that way.

The other day we sat down with Meghan Mark, our Partner Success Manager, to ask her some questions about what makes our support program so special.

Heading into 2019 what do you think were some of the account teams biggest successes over the past year?  What do you hope to see continue over the next year?

In the latter half of the year we more than doubled our client base, all while offering the same level of customer engagement and support we’ve always been known for. As a rapidly-growing company with many new clients, we always brace ourselves for growing pains along the way — but that hasn’t yet happened. Knock on wood.

Looking forward into 2019, I expect the adoption of our product suite will steadily increase and my hope is that our team continues to provide topnotch service, especially as we add new members to our organization.

Can you share some client feedback that really stood out to you, either positive or negative?  How does ADL respond to client feedback?

When I first started at Ad Lightning in 2017, we had great customers that loved our scanning products - particularly the granularity of the data, visibility into latency and the ease of use of our reporting UI. It was around that time however, that the overtly malicious ads started to become more prevalent across the ecosystem. Our clients wanted a more proactive way to rid their site of malware and mobile redirects, so our product team added a suite of blocking solutions to our offering. Now, when I hear trial clients say things like “this is the most comprehensive solution [in the market],” I’m really proud of our team. 

Recently, we were showing a client new updates and they responded, “that's why Ad Lightning is great! You're always adding to the product and working with us on new features.”

As a B2B SaaS company, I think that’s one of the best compliments you can get. No product is perfect, but if you’re willing to take feedback, and act upon that feedback, you can get pretty darn close.

What do your clients care about the most?

The user experience on their properties is top of mind. Our main purpose at Ad Lightning is to rid the ecosystem of disruptive ads that impact websites and disrupt from the site’s content. If we can help make a site more seamless for users to navigate it, we’ve done our job well.

What keeps your clients up at night?

The easy answer is mobile redirects, which have plagued publishers the past few years. Bad actors are constantly looking for new ways to get around the latest technology, so we are always looking for new ways to beat them at their own game. Long-term, I think many of our clients are in watch-and-wait mode to see how the transparency and consent requirements around GDPR play out in Europe—and the possibility that something similar could eventually come to the US. 

Which clients are the most successful in using Ad Lightning?   

Ad Lightning power-users take the time to learn and understand our product— and  push the boundaries by asking us for clever features that are universally beneficial to our entire client base. Often, these requests are simple features that we didn’t realize would make their day-to-day drastically easier.  The most successful clients are inquisitive about their data, check metrics often, engage with us on monthly check-in calls and use the chat tool to ask questions in real-time.

ADL is known for service in the industry — what sets you apart? What is your philosophy in terms of service?

Every client is extremely important to us. We don’t treat the smaller sites we work with any differently than we treat our global publishers. If you sign a contract buying our product, we are grateful that you’re putting your faith into our team and are relying on our prompt service and industry knowledge. Many of us have publisher and ad ops backgrounds, which makes it easy for us to put on our publisher hats and empathize with our clients.

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