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Industry Online Advertising
Founded 2006
Founder David Crystal, Ian Saunders
Headquarters London, United Kingdom
Number of locations
Area served
Key people
David Crystal, Ian Saunders
Parent ad pepper media International N.V

iSense is an online semantic advertising technology which applies the principles of semantics to online advertising. iSense was developed by Crystal Semantics Ltd. in London with research and development facilities in Copenhagen & Holyhead. The company was founded in 2001 by Ian Saunders and Professor David Crystal O.B.E, a world authority on language and the author of over 150 books on the subject of linguistics. It maintains a research center that focuses on semantic technology, web content classification and the development of new capabilities in the fields of advertiser brand protection, page sentiment analysis and content monetization. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of ad pepper media International N.V., a publicly quoted international online advertising marketer with 16 offices in eight European countries and the USA.


iSense operates by allowing advertisers to select the theme of the content upon which their campaign should be displayed. Each language is broken down into some 3,500 knowledge categories from which those categories are chosen that fit best to the advertising campaign in question. This process can be optimized during the ongoing campaign to be able to focus the campaign on the best performing categories. iSense is automatically analysing the visual text of every web page to find out, what the content of the web page is about and in what context this occurs. This process takes a few milliseconds before a result is obtained. This result is then passed back to the client to determine if the context matches that of the ad campaign and the decision is taken by the ad server if the ad(s) should be delivered.

The semantic technology of iSense contains two services for the advertisers:

  • It can be used for delivering online-ads to relevant web pages and
  • it is also possible to block the placement of ads next to web content that could damage the image of the advertised brand (e.g. by putting an ad for an airline next to a report about a plane crash).


iSense is a patented technology and leverages a 10 year language project. It is the brainchild of Professor David Crystal and a team of 40 linguists and lexicographers. iSense is based upon a core ontology where Professor Crystal’s team have systematically assigned the semantic relationships between words and contexts in which they occur. Therefore iSense knows these relationships at a factual level and does not use statistical probability. This process has been repeated across other languages and dialects and the same knowledge categories. As every language changes over the time, new words are being created and new meanings and contexts emerge, the core taxonomy is continually being updated and extended by a team of linguists in each available language (English, German, Dutch, French, Danish, Italian).[1] [2]


  • Festival of Media Awards 2009: first price in the category "Communication Futures" for a semantic advertising campaign within the iSense Network [3]
  • European Seal of e-Excellence Award 2009: second price for the technology iSense [4]
  • In February 2008, iSense won the Internet Advertising Bureau 'Digital Innovator of the Year' award[5]
  • In December 2008, iSense won E-consultancy’s ‘Innovation in Online Advertising’ award[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Crystal Contextual Technology Acquired by Ad Pepper". MarketingVox. 2006-03-20. Retrieved 2008-02-18. 
  2. ^ "iSense - A new level of ad targeting by Prof. Dr. Crystal". 2008-09-23. Retrieved 2008-02-18. 
  3. ^ (Festival of Media Awards).
  4. ^ (Seal of e-Excellence).
  5. ^ "ad pepper’s ‘iSense’ claim IAB’s first Digital Innovator Award". Internet Advertising Bureau UK. February 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-24. 
  6. ^ "semantic advertising solution takes another top honour, following its recognition at the IAB’s Innovation Awards". Ad Pepper Media. December 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-08. 

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