isocket, a startup that makes it easy to buy and sell online advertising, is making a few big announcements today, including the closing of a multi-million dollar series A round of funding from their existing seed investors (the startup raised $1.8 million back in 2009), which includes some big name angels/VCs like Tim Draper of Draper Fisher Jurvetson, David Blumberg of Blumberg Capital, Jeff Clavier of SoftTech VC, and David Cohen of TechStars. (Disclosure: TechCrunch uses isocket to power its direct advertising.)
In addition to its new infusion of capital, isocket is announcing that it has poached Ben Trenda from the Rubicon Project. Ben is joining isocket as VP of Sales. TechCrunch covered his exit from Aol (where he was the VP of Agency Relationships) to join Rubicon in April of last year. At Rubicon, Trenda was responsible for launching the company’s realtime bidding business and helped the Project grow to the second largest ad exchange behind Google.
In addition to powering direct advertising for publishers like Mashable, VentureLoop, GameZebo, and Appolicious, isocket is officially announcing that it is has added Aol Tech properties, including TUAW (and will soon add Joystiq and Engadget) to its roster of clients. isocket has also forged a supply-side partnership with Google to integrate with its DoubleClick ad server, which means that the company will soon be plugging directly into DoubleClick For Publishers (a service used by the majority of major publishers) to bring direct ad sales straight to its customers without all the traditional hassle.
isocket Founder and CEO John Ramey told us that publishers like the Cheezburger Network are already using this DoubleClick integration, and the adoption is going very well for both isocket and Google.
To give a sense of what isocket does, the startup’s service makes it easy for advertisers to connect with premium publishers to buy advertising and, in turn, makes it simple for those publishers to sell their digital ads. Traditionally, for publishers who want to sell ads, sales staff (or founders, etc.) would have to manage their relationships with buyers over the phone, by email, and Excel.
It involves gathering ad mockups, inventory-ing, a lengthy back and forth over size of ads, formatting, pricing, etc. and management of the whole process in spreadsheets. Simply buying an ad directly, an act that should be two-click easy, turns into a multiple-week-long process that is a pain in the ass for everyone involved.
isocket’s products seek to streamline the process by allowing publishers to setup a profile, create their ad inventory, and then essentially offers a micro-marketplace from which advertisers can peruse those ads and all related info, and buy the ads they want with a few clicks. It’s a self-service platform, and the publisher is emailed directly once an interested buyer chooses to purchase the ad, allowing them to accept or reject. Once they approve, isocket takes care of the rest.
And today, the startup is announcing a feature that adds additional functionality for advertisers, allowing them to place orders straight from their agency’s software that they already use — they can now search listings of premium publishers and their best inventory without having to worry about using other platforms to do business.
Essentially, with the addition of these new features to its BuyAds platform, isocket has created a robust platform for premium inventory with the benefit of programmatic direct sales via its API. What this means is that publishers can now share their inventories directly with the buying tools advertisers already use, like demand side platforms and media planners. In other words, less hassle, quick sales, and more orders.
Now, with isocket’s APIs, users can search the platform’s curated catalog of premium publishers, search third party publishers as well, view what inventory is available at what prices, place orders directly (and programatically), make payments, and access metrics on ad performance.
Some of this may sound obscure and a bit niche, but for advertisers, marketers, and publishers, isocket is building a pretty nifty platform that really brings direct ad sales into the digital era.
For a deep dive into isocket’s announcements, check out their blog post here.