Ad Lightning expands, now helps online publishers block certain ads


Ad Lightning already helps online publishers and advertising exchange platforms spot programmatic ads that slow down sites and disrupt engagement. Now it is helping customers automatically block those ads in the first place.

The Seattle startup on Monday unveiled new ad blocking tools to help clients prevent potentially malicious, offensive or non-compliant ad units from loading on a publisher’s site.

Ad Lightning first built an ad monitoring product, but customers wanted the ability to not only watch for bad ads but also stop them from appearing altogether. The new service is a wrapper that integrates with a publisher’s ad server. It takes advantage of more than 50 million ads that Ad Lightning has now scanned.

“We are the first company to offer this end to end protection for publishers,” said Ad Lightning CEO Scott Moore.

Ad Lightning estimates that 28 percent of all online ads are “bad ads,” based on a recent study it conducted.

Ad Lightning spun out of Seattle-based startup studio Pioneer Square Labs last year. It raised a $2 million investment round in April —  investors include Sinclair Digital Ventures, an investment division of Sinclair Broadcast Group; Seattle Angel Fund, Flying Fish Partners; Curious Capital; and The Alliance of Angels. Total funding in the company is $4.8 million.

The startup, which employs 11 people, spent this past winter in New York City as part of the inaugural class of Verizon Ventures’ new “Media Tech Venture Studio.” It received a $100,000 investment from R/GA Ventures as part of the program.

Moore co-founded Ad Lightning with Kate Reinmiller and Drake Callahan. He previously worked as an executive at Microsoft, Yahoo and Cheezburger, where he was COO and CEO of the digital humor network.

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