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The world's largest community for good.

I joined Care2 a short time after it was founded by Randy Paynter in 1998. To put that into perspective, Ebay, Amazon, and Yahoo were founded in 1994-1995. The internet was still in its infancy. It was the age of dial-up and "you have mail." Back then, online display advertising consisted of mostly text-based ads, small 120x60 buttons and a few 728x90 banners. It was the wild west. A completely new and exciting frontier. 


During this time period, very few companies were advertising online. I recall reaching out to companies to discuss advertising. Most were not advertising online and weren't interested in even discussing it. 


I had barely a year under my belt when the infamous bust occurred. Stock prices of everything with a .com at then end of their name had seen their valuations skyrocket on pure speculation. In mid 2000, they all came crashing down. Stock prices of well known leading internet pioneers went from trading in the hundreds of dollars per share to trading in the single digits. Many .com companies without a brick and mortar presence, didn't survive. 


Selling advertising for a .com during this time, was very difficult. Never-the-less, I persisted, and eventually developed a solid, and growing list of advertising partners. For the most part, advertising with very small 120x60 buttons on the side of the page.


Some of my earliest clients were small natural foods brands like Eden Foods, Lightlife Foods, Melissa's, Soy Delicious (now So Delicious), Newman's Own and others. 


During this time, we used our proprietary ad server, and my responsibilities included prospecting, pitching, developing creative, and serving and managing campaigns. I ran the entire operation. 


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Eventually, larger ad units were being adopted and utilized across the internet, however, Care2, a very conservative site when it comes to user experience, was not quick to embrace the larger units. It required a great deal of internal lobbying to move in that direction. However, I was, in time, successful getting us in position to compete with our colleagues in the space.


Meanwhile, Care2 was growing! Site membership was increasing at the rate of 300,000 new members per month and site traffic was scaling along with it. 


A decade after our founding we were firing on all cylinders! I was landing premium brand clients like P&G, Toyota, Kellogg's, Campbell's, Purina, and many more. They were placing large direct buys for rich media campaigns, with messages around healthier, greener alternatives. I was working on strategy, pitches, excel sheets and decks non-stop, often throughout the weekend and into the early morning hours. Like many media execs, coffee became a regular part of my diet!


Soon though, the great recession of 2008 was upon us. Many brand advertisers, cut budgets or eliminated them entirely, and those that didn't switched messaging from recycling or cause related initiatives, to coupon and cost savings initiatives, in order to align with the broader economic woes.  This major change in corporate messaging removed the contextual alignment that the recent wave of corporate campaigns had with Care2. This along with the downturn in the economy created a very challenging environment for selling digital advertising.


In spite of the enormous new challenges, I persevered. It was around this time that mobile and video were starting to get attention and seeing growth, but it was years before we embraced them as viable revenue opportunities. 

From 2008 through 2012, ad networks ruled. We worked closely with display media titans like (now a division of AOL), ValueClick (now Conversant) and others, relying on them for monetizing our inventory that wasn't committed for premium brand business.


During this time, I managed all of Care2's ad network business, while I focused on premium, agency and direct deals. My days were spent optimizing our networks to maximize eCPMs, communicating with brands and agencies (media planners and buyers) on direct deals, acquiring creative and tags, and communicating with account managers, and ad ops. All of this in addition to developing strategies and packages for direct advertisers, creating excel sheets and powerpoints for agency pitches, and assisting my colleagues in our business development team with strategies, decks and assets for pitching their non-profit clients.


In 2012, the time had come to really pay attention to video as it had been embraced by publishers and advertisers alike, and was growing rapidly. Having no video content on Care2, we had no preroll inventory to sell. So I sought solutions that could allow us to tap into the lucrative video CPMs, even in spite of having no video content. The result was deploying an "in read" technology that split the page on scroll and loaded a video ad in the content of the page. This strategy is now widely adopted and embraced by most online publishers. 


Around the same time, mobile was leaping onto the scene. Publishers were seeing mobile traffic cannibalizing desktop traffic at an alarming rate. Publisher ad revenues are tied to premium desktop CPMs. With desktop CPM rates at $10 and mobile CPM rates at $1, this presented a concern. We needed a solid mobile strategy and fast. I coordinated with the rest of the team to make sure that our site was mobile optimized and able to serve mobile banners, then sought deals with mobile ad vendors to ensure monetization of the growing mobile traffic.


It was also around this time that RTB and programmatic buying and selling took over and signaled the end of the "era of ad networks." Ad networks either evolved and embraced RTB or vanished. With this new technology came transparency, and vastly improved the ability of buyers to purchase premium, quality inventory, with high viewability, at scale, and at a steep discount to publisher direct rates. Marketers quickly embraced this new technology and many advertisers shifted most, if not all of their budgets, into buying media programmatically. As a result, publishers needed to evolve to embrace programmatic or risk watching their ad revenues decline precipitously. 


Seeing what was coming, I moved quickly to position Care2 to welcome and fully leverage programmatic, by partnering with key industry leaders in the space. 


Now, in 2018, Care2 offers standard display, high impact display, video, mobile, native and email opportunities to global advertisers both direct and programmatically. Mobile, is around 78% of all traffic to


It has been quite an amazing journey. Exciting, challenging, educating, and very rewarding. As a significant shareholder, I remain engaged with Care2 as a consultant, fully invested in their success. However, my full attention now turns to SRAX, as I strive to make the same impact that I made with Care2, leveraging all of my knowledge, experience, talent, abilities, and relationships to help SRAX take it to the next level.


If you would like to learn more, or just connect and share a few moments discussing the industry, its past, its future, or even what the weather is like at "the world's most beautiful beaches" (where our office is located), please reach out. I would value connecting and getting to know you.





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