Let me introduce Ken Weiner, GumGum’s Chief Technology Officer. Ken brings over a decade of information technology expertise to lead his team in product architecture, implementation and company operations. He leverages Amazon EC2, Hadoop and HBase to build GumGum’s scalable in-image ad server. Ken’s love for technology brings him to conferences and groups like CTO Forum, Los Angeles Hadoop Users Group and Thursday Lunch, that he organizes to bring together local Santa Monica startups every Thursday. Follow Ken @kweiner and @ThursdayLunch.
How did you get into online advertising?
My first exposure to online advertising was with my previous company LowerMyBills.com. They were one of the largest, top 10 I think, advertisers online in terms of total spend. At GumGum, I got deep into online advertising as we shifted our business from a pay-per-impression image licensing platform to an in-image advertising network.
What do you love about in-image advertising?
Building something that hasn’t been done before. I enjoy the challenge of creating technology that can intelligently pair advertisements with images. The key is understanding what images are all about at scale. There are billions of image impressions on the web each month so the opportunity is enormous.
What’s the best tip you could give publishers to optimize their images for increased traffic?
Make sure each image is equipped with alt or title text that describes the contents of the image. Also try to use images that are at least 300 pixels wide on pages that get the most traffic. Larger, and often higher paying, advertisements only fit on larger images.
What’s your favorite thing to do outside the office?
I enjoy playing the tenor saxophone in small jazz groups and big bands.
You’re on a desert island with only a computer, what software do you bring with you?
What’s your favorite GumGum publisher?
We have a lot of great publishers, but I’ll go with LA.com, a guide to arts, news, and entertainment, in and around Los Angeles where I live, work, and play.
Where do you hope to see GumGum in 5 years?
I’d like to see GumGum present online wherever there are images – a household name among web publishers.
What word best describes GumGum?
Hungry. We want to succeed and we love to eat!
Have questions for Ken about publisher tips, in-image advertising or how he built our scalable ad server? Comment them below and he’ll get back to you.