Dizzy Networks Launching New Facebook Platform Ad Network: Interview with Founder Jeremy Olsson

dizzy-networksWhile there are several ad networks operating on the Facebook Platform – including RockYou Ads, Adknowledge’s Cubics, AdParlor, SocialMedia, SocialCash, and a variety of others – it’s been a while since a new ad network was founded to heavily focus on monetizing Facebook application inventory. However, Jeremy Olsson, formerly the director of performance marketing at RockYou, tells us he has struck out on his own to do just that.

Recently, Olsson closed a seed round of funding for his new ad network, Dizzy Networks, that’s initially going to be focused on improving Facebook application monetization. We spoke with Olsson about the founding of the company, Dizzy Networks’ value proposition to publishers and advertisers, and Olsson’s plans for the next few months.

Justin Smith: What’s the story behind the founding of Dizzy Networks?

jeremy-olssonJeremy Olsson: I’ve been in the ad network space for 6 years now, going back to my time at FastClick. I’ve often seen the inefficiencies of ad networks. One thing I did at FastClick was creating a CPA division (this was around the time the crazy free iPod/co-registration stuff was happening). I actually internally arbitraged our CPM inventory to fulfill our CPA deals, and this became my specialty. It’s a really efficient model because you can manipulate your margins depending on what the goals of the company are. That’s how I really got into direct response marketing.

A couple of years ago I moved back to the Bay Area and discovered RockYou. I wanted to bring my experience to RockYou to set up an internal lead-gen arbitrage model, which you can get running really quickly. However, it’s been my intention for a long time to do something on my own. The big hurdle I have is I’m not a technical guy.

Most of the third party ad servers out there were built so long ago, including DART and Zedo, that they don’t really handle CPA well. So I was looking to build something from scratch, from a CPA perspective, but there aren’t that many guys that can build good ad servers. I had a relationship with SocialHour, as I do with every major ad network on Facebook, and I knew that they were developing this ad server around CPA stuff. It just kind of clicked that since their ad network business is shut down as far as I know, I asked them if there was a way I could license their technology, and that’s what happened.

So now, we’re looking for office space in San Francisco, and I’m looking to hire a few people to help with campaign management and publisher development.

What’s the core value proposition you hope to offer publishers and advertisers?

I think having been exposed to the ad network business outside of social media, there’s a lot more innovation going on out there. Social media is still relatively new, and the players still have a lot of room to catch up. I think I bring a lot of experience on that front, whether it be retargeting or using third party data providers to help capture the right audience within this massive pool. I think it is important to point out that we’re not 100% focused on social media – I just think that’s where the biggest inefficiencies lie now. I’m also exploring repping other website inventory, even Twitter and mobile inventory.

I really see the ad networks that succeed put a lot of effort into making sure that the ad server does all the work. Technology really drives this segment of the industry, and we definitely plan on putting a lot of resources toward the technology component in order to stay lean on the employee side. I have done a lot of manual campaign management and optimization and it’s very labor intensive.  With the proper technology and planning, I think much of this can be done by a good ad server.