Television has been a king of advertisement media until recent past, when online advertising started deposing it from the throne. More and more people just do not use television and prefer online experience to the outdated options of TV.
Still, if in most cases advertisement on television is a great excuse to go to the bathroom or turn on the electric kettle, there hardly is any website free from advertisement. In most cases, those ads are intrusive and irrelevant.
However, major advertising platforms like Google or Facebook use personal data from their users to help advertisers target their audiences better and thus remove the irrelevance from the equation. This raises the question of user privacy on the internet, as well as the issue of informed consent to provide such data.
Such enormous centralized entities as aforementioned Facebook and Google often behave like dictators when it comes to relationships with advertisers and publishers: they impose limitations as to what can be advertised, and what cannot, and may block them altogether without any chance for the affected advertisers to challenge the decision in a swift manner.
Non-transparent practices of ad bidding and placement inherent in most platforms and networks usually result in confusion as to results of a certain campaign, while some use downright fraudulent schemes to trick companies into paying for impressions or clicks that never happened.
Finally, users get tired of twinkling banners and videos that they have no chance to skip, and just install ad blockers or turn away from the screen. This makes a big share of advertisement online a big waste of money, time and effort.
All those problems have been troubling the online advertisement for years. However, after blockchain technology has emerged, and people got an idea of what it is capable of, some startups started developing solutions that seek to put a lid on this imbalanced situation. Some of them offered to install a specific browser like Brave that could pay users for watching an ad; others focused on facilitating relationship between advertisers and publishers.
However, AdEx, an international project announced in the last days of 2016, seeks to return the reins in the hands of end users because, after all, advertising is all about them.
Ivo Georgiev, CEO and co-founder of AdEx, described AdEx’s ad platform as follows:
“The solution offered by AdEx seeks to benefit all parties involved in the online advertising ecosystem, which means end users as well as advertisers and publishers, while removing unnecessary and downright risky elements currently associated with centralized infrastructure.”
AdEx would create an ad exchange where end users could be as specific as they wish in describing their preferences in order to see only those ads that are relevant to them, while advertisers could be absolutely sure they pay for actual events, and publishers could be confident that all payments they receive would be instantaneous and automatic.
In order to implement such a solution, AdEx has employed smart contracts powered by Ethereum. All rules of the game can be specified in a contract while it’s running on Ethereum’s blockchain. This brings the technology’s transparency and security to the entire platform.
The project’s ambitions suggest that over the next few years more and more advertisers and publishers will come onboard, which poses a question of scalability.
In order to address that matter, and considering scalability problems currently disturbing Ethereum network, AdEx concedes expanding the platform onto other blockchains, like bitcoin-based RSK or Aeternity. Alternatively, they might use this month’s sensation of IOTA on top of the same Ethereum.
It’s a matter of time that the community finds out whether AdEx's plan to disrupt the online ad industry really works. However, such projects bring a wonderful promise of the internet of tomorrow, where, empowered by blockchain, everything is transparent and secure at the same time.