Conferences & Events

A Sneak Peak of Upcoming Engineering MeetUp with the LA Tech Community

At GumGum, we encourage one another to share with the advertising and technology communities the knowledge gained from our everyday experiences on the job. Our engineers often write whitepapers and present to the local tech community at events and MeetUps in Santa Monica.

This week, DevOps Engineer Florian Dambrine will present Ansible with GumGum where he will share tips, tricks and best practices about the powerful IT automation tool. We encourage you to swing by, listen and talk about your experiences using Ansible.


In honor of Florian’s upcoming presentation, we decided to ask him some questions about his experience at GumGum and working with Ansible.


What is your role at GumGum?

My job consists of automating any kind of Big Data technology we are using at GumGum. I am also responsible for the production systems we are running in the AWS cloud. My job allows me to work closely with the Software Engineering team to provide them with robust systems that fit their needs.


Why would you say GumGum is different than any other digital advertising company?

I joined GumGum as employee number 30. Just a year and a half later, we have over tripled our headcount and we’ve adapted very well to such incredible growth. A way in which GumGum is special is that we have leveraged the latest and greatest open source technologies in order to deal with the complex obstacles brought on by our spectacular growth.


How would you explain Ansible to a non-engineer?

In order to run an application or a website on a server, the operating system needs to be configured and installed properly. Decades ago, system administrators were doing this configuration manually by running commands on the server itself and going through all of them one by one… Nowadays, tools like Ansible allow you to write codes that define the state that a server needs to reach in order to be ready to host an application or even deploy the application itself. The main purpose of using a configuration management tool like Ansible is to convert your infrastructure as code. Thanks to this concept, you can run the same code against multiple servers simultaneously and you know by fact that they will be installed and configured in the same way. You do not even need to connect to remote servers you just run code against them.


Can you give us a sneak peak about what you will discuss at your Ansible MeetUp?

During this Ansible talk I will share tips, tricks, best practices, observations, and feedback from using Ansible at GumGum. I will first introduce general facts about Ansible and then go over 10 useful tips that we have discovered while using Ansible. I am really excited about sharing what I have learned with the Los Angeles tech community before I move back to France!


Why do you love working at GumGum?

At GumGum, anyone has the opportunity to submit and develop his or her own ideas. Everyone at some point will be able to lead a project from the beginning to the end.


Can you give an example of a project you led from start to finish?

I had a chance to lead multiple projects. Ansible is actually a great example because I introduced the technology one year ago and started this platform myself from scratch. Today we’re a team of 3 DevOps engineers working with Ansible everyday. We are capable of automating and managing 500 servers every day thanks to 60 Ansible automations.


Describe your perfect day.

A perfect day for me is a day where I work on upgrading GumGum’s production heart systems. I love challenging myself with production especially when these modifications need to be done without any downtime. I love having to act quickly and working closely with coworkers.


Tell us something interesting about yourself.

I am French, I never go out without my longboard and I have walked across a 450-foot slackline.

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GumGum Talks Advertising Week on Fox

Our founder and CEO Ophir Tanz made an appearance on Fox Business Channel’s Risk & Reward with Dierdre Bolton this week to discuss Advertising Week, the growth of GumGum and the role of in-image ads in the rapidly changing digital advertising industry.

In addition to lending his perspective on the news and industry buzz happening across hundreds of events taking place in New York this week, the interview highlighted GumGum’s role in Advertising Week as a sponsor of the annual IAB MIXX conference, the Mobile Media Summit and the Brand Innovators dinner.

Click here to watch the entire segment, which originally aired on Thursday, October 2, 2014.

GumGum Image Scientists Present at IPCV

In a testament to our deep understanding of images, GumGum’s image science team has co-authored a paper delving into the technology behind our recent hair color detection campaign for L’Oreal Paris. This image recognition technology was used by L’Oreal to dynamically target product ads based on hair color and hair volume identified in photos of faces for its Ombre campaign. Our image scientists, Cambron Carter and Dan Rosen, presented their “Automated Hair Color Determination” paper in Las Vegas at the Image Processing, Computer Vision conference this past week. The paper presents their approach and results when using the newly developed image recognition technology. If you are interested and/or scientifically inclined, you can read the full text of the paper here.

GumGum Wins Prestigious Patrick Soon-Shiong Innovation Award

  • GumGum Wins Prestigious Patrick Soon-Shiong Innovation Award
  • GumGum Wins Prestigious Patrick Soon-Shiong Innovation Award
  • GumGum Wins Prestigious Patrick Soon-Shiong Innovation Award
  • GumGum Wins Prestigious Patrick Soon-Shiong Innovation Award
  • GumGum Wins Prestigious Patrick Soon-Shiong Innovation Award
  • GumGum Wins Prestigious Patrick Soon-Shiong Innovation Award
  • GumGum Wins Prestigious Patrick Soon-Shiong Innovation Award
  • GumGum Wins Prestigious Patrick Soon-Shiong Innovation Award
  • GumGum Wins Prestigious Patrick Soon-Shiong Innovation Award
  • GumGum Wins Prestigious Patrick Soon-Shiong Innovation Award
  • GumGum Wins Prestigious Patrick Soon-Shiong Innovation Award

For a company that prides itself on innovation, we could not be more proud of being awarded the Los Angeles Business Journal‘s 2013 Patrick Soon-Shiong Innovation Award. The prestigious honor celebrates organizations that stretch boundaries and advance the innovative and economic competitiveness of the Los Angeles region. GumGum was among five companies to receive the honor from among more than 200 nominees and 15 finalists. A complete overview of the awards and all of the winners is part of a spread in this week’s issue of the Journal.

For the press release of this announcement, click here.


Cat’s Pride Case Study Featured at ad:tech

We couldn’t be more proud to present our campaign for Cat’s Pride® Fresh & Light® cat litter at ad:tech San Francisco this week. During the session, “Native Ads, Images and New Must-Haves in the Media Plan,” GumGum SVP of Marketing, Tony Winders and our client, Bob Tacy, SVP of Digital Media at Doner, will present how in-image advertising put Cat’s Pride® directly in front of cat enthusiasts.

Other panelists include Dave Martin, SVP of Media for Ignited; Julie Jensen, Sr. Group Manager of Media for The Clorox Co.; Gyro Executive Creative Director Steffan Postaer; and Sharethrough Co-Founder and CEO Dan Greenberg. We’re looking forward to hearing these other experts’ views, especially in light of our post on native advertising last week.

Fresh and Light Demo Still

The Cat’s Pride® campaign was one of GumGum’s most successful ever, boasting an overall click-through rate of 1.18
percent. Upon interacting with the creative, consumers were taken to a video light box overlay that
achieved a 50 percent completion rate and a 4.22 percent CTR to the official Cat’s Pride® website.

Fresh and Light Creative

To download the complete Cat’s Pride® case study, click here. For a look at other GumGum campaigns,

GumGum Speaks at Digiday Publishing Summit

Is it really almost November? Yes, it’s the time of year for pumpkins, trick or treating, and those crisp fall nights, but also the time of year when the world’s top digital publishers gather in Florida for Digiday’s Publishing Summit! For the second year in a row, GumGum’s publisher solutions team ventured east for the Summit, which was held from October 21-23 in West Palm Beach.

The theme for this year’s Summit was “The Publisher Transformed,” specifically how digital media has upended the traditional publishing model while simultaneously creating new opportunities for publishers nimble enough to seize upon them.

On Day 1, Jason Seiken, SVP of Interactive at PBS, discussed how his team created a “revolution” within their organization by embracing social media and online video to engage younger audiences with viral content such as the “Mr. Rogers Remixed” video. Featuring an auto-tuned Mr. Rogers rapping over electronic beats, the video immediately shot to #1 on YouTube following its release and currently has over seven million views.

Gustav von Sydow of Stockholm-based business intelligence platform Burt also discussed “native advertising,” making the point that advertising in fashion magazines such as Vogue can be considered native since it is indistinguishable from the magazine’s content, and that a similar experience can be created online by integrating ads into content. Not only does Burt have a cool product, but their presentation made a great case for why in-image advertising is such an effective solution for both advertisers and publishers.

On Day 2, I presented a short “tech talk” on GumGum’s in-image ad platform, and how premium publishers are using it to monetize their photo traffic. The audience at DPS was interested in learning more about the level of user engagement with in-image ads, and I was happy to take a deeper dive into some of the numbers we have been seeing, such as CTRs five to ten times higher than standard banner ads and 23 percent higher brand recall among users who are exposed to three in-image ads.

From a GumGum perspective, perhaps the most noteworthy take-away from this year’s DPS was that in-image advertising is now thoroughly entrenched among premium publishers, and widely deployed as a powerful tool for driving incremental revenue. The attendees at the event included representatives from numerous GumGum partners, such as Meredith, Alloy Digital, Tribune Company, New York Daily News, Cox Media Group and Internet Brands.

Altogether, the summit was a great opportunity to hear how the industry’s top publishers are innovating and growing in the digital space, connect with our premier partners for three days of networking and fun, and spread the word on how GumGum’s products are helping publishers “transform” their businesses online!

Deep in the Heart of Texas!

As part of our push to formally introduce GumGum to the digital advertising industry, we’re proud to have partnered closely with iMedia Communications to participate in its various Summit events throughout the second half of 2012.

GumGum had quite a presence at the recent iMedia Breakthrough Summit, held at the Hyatt Lost Pines Resort near Austin. As the official Summit Coverage Sponsor, we kicked off our new “Ads that stick.” display campaign and worked closely with the iMedia team to create the first in-image trade campaign of its kind, where our own in-image ads appear on photos taken throughout the event.
Our Spotlight Presentation, which you can download here, was also well received, with lots of thoughtful questions and interest from the brands and agencies in attendance. iMedia wrote a great summary of the presentation and our CEO, Ophir Tanz was interviewed by Bethany Simpson about the rise of images and the increasing interest in image-based advertising among marketers.
While there are rumored to be images and video of certain GumGum executives riding a mechanical bull somewhere on 6th Street in Austin, we’ll save those for a Facebook post or blackmail leverage for another time.

GumGum Takes Manhattan!

The GumGum team was out in full force during Advertising Week in New York, participating in digital related events (and yes, the parties!), taking client meetings and spending valuable time with our out of town colleagues.

As the newest member of the IAB, we were proud to introduce GumGum to the publishers, brands and agencies in attendance. In addition to our pole position in the exhibit hall, GumGum founder and CEO Ophir Tanz presented a workshop on in-image advertising. We’d like to extend a huge thank you to our clients, Melissa Davis of Entertainment One Films and Dave Armenia of Starpulse. Having them at our side was great validation of our in-image advertising platform from both the advertiser and publisher perspective. l related events (and yes, the parties!), taking client meetings and spending valuable time with our out of town colleagues.

Other highlights of the week included Media Magazine’s Future of Media event at NYU, First Wednesdays gathering at Olive’s.

Stay tuned for more events and coverage of GumGum’s splash on the advertising scene in the coming weeks!

In the meantime, be sure to check out some of the action from this year’s IAB Mixx Expo:

Digiday Brand Conference 2012

With the distinguished honor of co-sponsoring the inaugural Digiday Brand Conference on Wednesday afternoon, GumGum’s New York team, led by CEO Ophir Tanz, made an immediate splash on the scene amongst several hundred attendees from numerous emerging

brands and tech startups.

The conference, held at the prestigious and chic W Hotel New York, featured guest speakers presenting the most innovative services and products to hit the technology scene along with showcasing industry progressing topics of discussion through one-on-one interviews with top executives from several brands sponsoring the event.

GumGum was one of the several sponsors this year and Ophir had the distinct privilege to step up to the podium and demonstrate GumGum’s services, abilities and advantages to all those in attendance and those watching the conference live via, one of the leading DBC sponsors of the afternoon.

After his brief introduction of GumGum and subsequent demonstration, Ophir was invited to a Q&A session alongside Goldspot, another sponsored company at the conference.

Adding to the glory was an article published by the Wall Street Journal that publicized GumGum and explained its pioneering role of in-image advertising and its evolving need in the advertising industry.

Overall, the event brought excellent exposure to GumGum and other top notch technologically advancing brands of the world and we couldn’t be any happier for the immense help and dedication both our team in NY and our SVP of Marketing, Tony Winders had achieved through their efforts to make this event one of the greatest moments in GumGum history.

Check out Ophir’s speech by following this link:

Make sure to see Ophir’s Q&A session here:

Don’t forget to read the WSJ article, featuring GumGum and in-image advertising, by clicking here:

To see a visual recap of the conference, follow this link:

We always love to hear from you. Sound off in the comments!

Kafka + Storm = Realtime Data at GumGum

Usually our CTO Ken Weiner never refuses to go to the usual GumGum afternoon coffee walk at 3:30. But on that day, something was fishy. He refused. When I came back I saw him salivating at the screen. I walked to his desk and he quickly pointed me to a website on his screen. Then he uttered the following words – ‘Realtime Data’!

Being an engineer at heart, I got overjoyed with the prospects of doing challenging work. The next task was to find the frameworks that would help us materialize the dream of Realtime data. We decided on Kafka, the distributed publish-subscribe messaging system, pretty quickly.

Developed by engineers at LinkedIn, the makers of Kafka believed that sequential disk access can be sometimes faster than RAM! And they designed this robust and distributed high performance publish-subscribe messaging system.

Kafka uses ZooKeeper for coordination. On the production side, one can avoid going through ZooKeeper by simply putting a load balancer in between the producer and the brokers.

That’s what we decided to do at GumGum.

At consumer side the coordination is important and hence the zookeeper consumer base is a better choice unless you have a single consumer or your own coordination system.

Kafka created multipe streams of events. Now we needed some framework to process this stream. Initially we contemplated using simple Groovy scripts to consume Kafka events. We already have a system that consumes events from Amazon SQS. A server starts 10 of these scripts (and sometimes more). But there were many issues with the system. We didn’t have a mechanism to divide code into logical blocks. Additionally,  there was no container for the scripts and there was no coordination system.

Meanwhile, we had started hearing about Storm from friends and the big data community. The very first presentation I attended at 2012 Hadoop Summit was Nathan Marz’s presentation on Storm. By then, I had started playing with Storm. The presentation was jam packed. People were already talking about storm being the next big thing in the big data world at the conference. I was sold. We decided to go for Storm.

Storm is especially designed for processing unending streams. It offers parallalized processing framework and has concept of Spouts and Bolts. Spout connects with Kafka, SQS and JMS-like systems to emit ‘Tuples’. These tuples can then be processed in one or more bolts. Each bolt is a processing unit. Bolts can be chained. You can process the tuple in a bolt and then choose to forward it in a different or the same form for the next bolt. You can chain as many bolts as you want. Since the bolt is a generic construct, you are not required to break your problem in constructs such as Map and Reduce. The best part is that Bolts offer flexible constructs for processing data. You can also do some fancy routing of the tuples with grouping and so much more.

Recently, Nathan Marz has introduced Trident – a higher level of abstraction built on top of Storm. Instead of thinking about bolts an spouts, Trident offers a higher level of abstraction that any competitor. You can have all sorts of operations such as Suming, Counting, Reducers and Aggregations, all  by using Trident. GumGum has tried one Trident Topology so far, but I would consider it as a work in progress.

GumGum is currenlty routing approximately 100 million events per day through Kafka and Storm. Our internal customers have started using real time data and the topologies, along with the Kafka cluster are pretty stable. We have a three node (m1.small) Kafka cluster and a three node (c1.xlarge) Storm cluster. Both clusters are underutilized and we have plans to use Kafka + Storm in the future.

It has become very easy to add a new topic or new consumers for the same topic. And compared to MapReduce, development with Storm is much easier than ever before. You can debug your topology by running it locally! With Map Reduce, you cannot easily debug your jobs in eclipse unless you are using Karmaspehere or a similar tool.

I gave a talk recently at Los Angeles Hadoop Users Group describing all of the above in much more detail. The audience was enthusiastic and asked lots of really interesting questions.

You can watch the video here and the slides can be found here.

You can read much more about our big data experience at my blog.

Let’s us know what you think about this big data experiment…will you give it a go? Sound off in the comments below!