Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Visible Measures, the Web Video Tracker Turned Web Video Ad Network, Raises $21 Million

If you pay attention to Web video, you’ve probably heard of Visible Measures: That’s the analytics company that tells you about Apple’s most popular ads, or which politician is going viral on YouTube.

But Visible Measures makes money doing something else. For the last year, it has been running a Web video ad network, where it charges advertisers each time someone chooses to watch one of its spots.*

Now it has more money to build that business out. The Boston-based company has raised a $21.5 million round, led by previous investor DAG Ventures, along with earlier backers like General Catalyst and Conde Nast parent Advance Publications. Some new money also came into the company via Common Fund.

That brings total funding for the 7-year-old company to more than $65 million; CEO Brian Shin says a “little bit” of the new round went back to existing equity owners via secondary sales.

*In the Web ad world, that’s called the “cost per view” model, and while it seems completely commonsensical, it’s a relatively new idea. The business-as-usual version: If a publisher/network can prove that someone saw an ad, whether they wanted to or not, they get credit for the view. Hence: Lots of crappy pre-roll ads, and even crappier “auto-play” ads. This is when it’s good to point out that the video ad business is ridiculously primitive.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik