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King of Prussia's LiftDNA doubling staff following recent acquisition

Here's something you may not know: When you click on a website, ads you see are often the result of a real time auction. It's an outrageously fast paced auction, where bidding takes place within 300 milliseconds.

LiftDNA, based in King of Prussia, is in the business of managing online publications that derive revenue from these advertisements, and the company is growing very fast. "We manage 80 to 90 percent of their revenue," says Dan Lawton, Senior Vice President of Operations. "The goal is that we allow them to focus on publishing, and we take care of field management and the technical concerns of an advertising operations department."

A typical LiftDNA client gets over a hundred million impressions per month, says Lawton, and in total, the company serves well over 20 billion monthly impressions internationally. "Every millisecond counts when talking about scale and volume. If the ad doesn't load fast enough, that creates revenue loss."

Try this: go to Philly.com on two different browsers. First use Internet Explorer, and then go to the same site on another browser, like Google Chrome or Firefox. You will likely see entirely different ads. Your eyeballs were purchased in nanoseconds, based on cookies and other stored information. It's not something the consumer realizes or considers. "It's definitely the wizard behind the curtain kind of stuff," quips Lawton.

LiftDNA was recently acquired by Los Angeles based OpenX for an undisclosed sum comprised of stock and cash. On the heels of that acquisition, LiftDNA is planning on doubling staff in the next few months, going from over 20 to nearly 40 employees. The majority of hires will be in operations, says Lawton, plus a handful of developers and administrative support staff.

LiftDNA is going up against the giant of ad servers. "Google has taken over the entire ad ecosystem. They own Double Click Ad Exchange and AdSense, but they are advertiser focused.

We write code against Google to benefit the publisher," says Lawton. "There's nothing for free in this world. The only way the cost of free content is justified is to have effective ads on a site. Without ads, the content goes away."

The next big opportunity in online advertising will be mobile, says Lawton, who predicts we will see major changes in the coming months as real time placement jumps from desktop to handheld. "Mobile devices are outpacing PCs for the first time. There's a huge global impact. The reach is huge, and the dollars are going to follow that audience."

Source: Dan Lawton, LiftDNA
Writer: Sue Spolan
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