Answers Served: Benedek Details Datonics Spinoff From AlmondNet

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ADOTAS – In an intriguing move for the data management sector, AlmondNet recently spun off its Data Division into standalone third-party data provider Datonics, with Data Division president Michael Benedek taking the helm as CEO. We caught up with Benedek to get the scoop behind the spinoff and hear what’s in store for Datonics in the near future.

ADOTAS: So why turn AlmondNet’s Data Division into a standalone company?

BENEDEK: AlmondNet develops technology and operates a number of different businesses. While the businesses are media-related, they operate in different markets and therefore it no longer made sense to operate them under the same corporate entity. Obviously, the growth of the online data market, and the explosive growth of Datonics in particular, warranted the spin-off of Datonics as a stand-alone business entity.

What’s up with the name Datonics, which sounds like it wouldn’t be a bad name for an 80s synthpop revivalist act?

While some of us were around and old enough to remember the 80s, we were not thinking about a revivalist act when the name “Datonics” was chosen. The name connotes our commitment to a scientific approach to data and more specifically our commitment to leveraging the best available resources and methods to analyze, classify, and optimize the collection, categorization and distribution of non personally-identifiable consumer data in a manner that benefits all participants in the advertising ecosystem, starting with the consumers who view the relevant, privacy-sensitive advertisements that we help our partners to deliver.

More seriously, how will dealing with Datonics the spinoff differ from when it was an internal unit? What are the operational advantages?

Because the AlmondNet Data division had effectively been operating as an independently run division of AlmondNet, the transition to Datonics has been extremely smooth.  Nevertheless, Datonics will be more focused and even more responsive to market needs than the AlmondNet Data division was.  We look forward to investing in and serving the entire growing ecosystem!

How will the spun-off company work with parent AlmondNet and its affiliate IntentIQ?

AlmondNet develops technology and operates a number of different businesses. AlmondNet’s technological and business acumen, which is reflected in the extensive suite of industry-leading targeted advertising solutions and products developed by the company and its focus on R&D, is expected to supplement Datonics solutions. While there are synergies between Datonics and IntentIQ, the companies operate independently.

What kind of strange experiments are being conducted in the Datonics Data Lab? Will they cause the villagers to come marching with pitchforks and torches?

Because our NYC office is in Soho, we are well-positioned to keep close watch on both the East and West Village and all their villagers.  The only time we recall seeing pitchforks was during the Halloween parade. In all seriousness, our data lab is tasked with the mission of analyzing, classifying and optimizing the collection, categorization and distribution of incoming and outgoing non personally-identifiable information that is collected by Datonics from data provider partners and distributed onward to platform partners and their marketers.

What in your mind differentiates Datonics’ data from its third-party data peers? Segmentation? Collection methods?

We prefer to keep our secret sauce secret for now, but stay tuned for some announcements in the not too distant future.

Can you explain how Datonics Post-Search works and what kind of companies can earn revenue from the service? What kind of benefits do your analytics offer?

We offer data providers the opportunity to generate cost free incremental revenue from their most valuable untapped asset — visitor behavior — without affecting their core revenue generating efforts and without compromising consumer privacy in any way. We aggregate commercially-relevant information from owners of monetizable data. Some examples of data sources include online search, comparison shopping, product review and vertically focused content sites, though there are many more.  Regarding the analytics, an added benefit of working with us is the insight that may be gleamed from the data we collect.  We’ll be more specific in the not too distant future.

While the launch partners were DSPs and DMPs, what other type of ad tech companies are you working with?

We are open to talking with all prospective data providers and data users that respect consumer privacy and are committed to building a healthy and mutually-beneficial partnership that contributes to our ever-evolving ecosystem. Beyond the DSPs and DMPs that you mention above, other sample partners include leading display and video ad networks, ad exchanges, agency trading desks, supply-side platforms and publishers.

What part of the display ecosystem is under-using third-party data and why? How are you reaching out to this area?

We of course believe that no one can ever use too much high-quality, third party data.  While this may sound like a cliché, we really believe that our niche of the internet advertising market, to borrow a hockey analogy instead of a baseball one, is only in the first period, both in terms of product evolution and market growth. Lots of excitement awaits our industry and we look forward to being a very big part of generating that!

Are you happy with Datonics being a data dealer or do you have bolder ambitions?

While we are always listening to our partners and developing solutions that respond to their needs, our current plans are extremely clear — to build upon our success to date and continue growing the leading aggregator and distributor of high-quality, proprietary and privacy-friendly, consumer purchase-intent, life-stage, and demographic data that benefits all stakeholders in our ecosystem — consumers, partners, employees, and shareholders.  The first period analogy is no cliché and we truly believe that the opportunities ahead are tremendous in our current business set-up and plan.

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