|Anthony Rushton (CEO)
Russell Irwin (CTO)
Beau Chesluk (COO)
Alex Frith (CFO)
Geo Carncross (vice president of engineering)
Number of employees
Telemetry was founded in 2009 by Anthony Rushton, Russell Irwin and Beau Chesluk. Rushton previously worked as a media planner, and Irwin and Chesluk were software developers, having created the 1997 video game GoldenEye 007. The three have been collaborating since 2001, when they began creating branded online video games under the name JailDog. They launched the online TV station WeDigTV in 2007, winning a 2008 International Interactive Emmy Award for Best International Interactive TV Network. In order to get Telemetry off the ground, Rushton, Irwin and Chesluk each invested £10,000 of their own money. Within two years of its launch, the company was showing yearly revenues of £24 million with adjusted profits of £5 million, and was valued at £175 million.
Telemetry's system was initially developed exclusively for video, embedding code into an online video to record click-through and mouse activity in real-time. In 2012, the company expanded into display and other forms of online advertising.
Telemetry is a private company, working independently with online digital video advertisers and agencies to provide impartial, detailed analytics and auditing in real time. The company tracks the efficiency and exposure gained by online digital advertising campaigns in order to ensure accountability and determine the true value of the campaign, exposing inflated reach and impressions. It investigates whether or not the ads were delivered on a suitable website, to the desired market, alongside the intended type of content. Previously, advertisers had to rely on biased analytics from the vender (essentially reporting on themselves) or traditional ad server statistics, which had not been designed to track online digital video advertising campaigns.
Telemetry has advised that in programmatic buying (when ads are bought and sold on a per-impression basis), the ways impressions are counted to set the price can be misleading. Ads purchased for pre-roll are sometimes placed instead into banner video ads, which are typically muted by the viewer, but still counted as if they were pre-roll impressions. Telemetry encourages advertisers to be diligent in demanding details of placement quality to ensure their ads are running in the proper space at the proper time. In creating transparency for the advertisers and accountability for the firms selling digital ad space, Telemetry has occasionally facing criticism for bypassing media agencies selling digital ad space and working with advertisers directly.
In August 2014, CEO Anthony Rushton was interviewed by CNN about online advertising fraud moving away from bot fraud, in which a series of fake computers simulate a sentient being watching ads, to a type of fraud involving genuine traffic and a genuine audience watching low-quality impressions, which are converted into premium inventory. The fraudulent impressions are then sold to large advertisers. Rushton and Telemetry feel it is the responsibility of the vendors to ensure that the impressions they are trading are genuine impressions.
Telemetry has exposed large frauds perpetrated in the online advertising landscape, such as their 2014 investigation of Verizon Wireless's online video advertising purchases, finding that in excess of $1 million had been spent on fake Web views. With Telemetry's advice, Verizon, the eighth-largest advertiser in the US, demanded make-goods. Later in 2014, Telemetry investigated a Mercedes-Benz online advertising campaign, detecting suspicious traffic activity and finding that 57% of the campaign was viewed more often by automated computer programs than human beings. Telemetry called out the company that brokered the impressions, and Mercedes was refunded for the false impressions. Telemetry also brought to the public's attention a scheme in which ads were forcefully "injected" onto popular sites (including Walmart.com, YouTube and others) by third-party sellers without the site owners' knowledge, with the profits going to the third party. In June 2014, Telemetry uncovered an ad fraud scheme that had been going on for several months, in which websites running lucrative video ads were being placed in banner ads on cheaper websites, with those behind the operation skimming around $10 million in video ad revenue per month. The scheme affected over 75 advertisers, including McDonald's, Coca-Cola and Ford. Rushton called it the most significant instance of ad fraud Telemetry has seen. Telemetry has publicly called out such companies by name, for unethically monetizing digital ads without the site owner's permission and manipulating impressions, while often generating a negative user experience.
According to 2014 estimates by the Interactive Advertising Bureau, approximately 36% of all reported Web traffic is considered fake, with the corresponding amount of fake ad views due to hijacked computers programmed to visit sites, cheating advertisers who pay based on the number of times their ad is loaded in response to a visit. Online media verification companies are developing solutions to detect ad-buy deception, but according to Telemetry, new advertiser defrauding techniques are being developed at a much faster pace.
- Maisha Frost, “Keeping track of internet ads,” Daily Express, June 15, 2011.
- Roland Gribben, “Video advertising firm looks for lift-off,” The Daily Telegraph, August 9, 2011.
- Tim Bradshaw, “Web watchers ensure you see the right ads,” Financial Times, March 15, 2012.
- Amy Duff, “Partnerships: Anthony Rushton, Beau Chesluk and Russell Irwin,” Director, October 2011.
- “JailDog develops games engine for global markets,” econsultancy.com, June 17, 2004.
- “WeDigTV to launch interactive ad-only online TV channel,” Marketing Week, November 8, 2007.
- “The 2008 International Interactive Emmy Award Winners,” The International Emmy Awards. Retrieved May 28, 2014.
- Rupert Neate, “GoldenEye game creators’ new venture set for a gilded future,” The Guardian, June 18, 2011.
- Brandon Gutman, “What You Need To Know About Buying Digital Video Advertising (At Least For Today),” Forbes, June 28, 2012.
- Jim Edwards, “This Leaked Document Shows How Big Brands’ Ad Budgets Get Spent On Asian Porn Sites,” Business Insider, December 13, 2013.
- Anthony Rushton, “Avoid fraud, rein in programmatic buying,” Economist Group, March 20, 2014.
- Anthony Rushton, “The Truth About Programmatic Web Video,” Adweek, January 22, 2014.
- "Online advertising fraud increases," CNN, August 22, 2014.
- Suzanne Vranica, “A ‘Crisis’ in Online Ads: One-Third of Traffic Is Bogus,” Wall Street Journal, March 23, 2014.
- Alex Kantrowitz, “Meet the Ad ‘Injection’ Scheme Hitting Target, YouTube and Walmart.com,” Advertising Age, May 15, 2014.
- Robert Cookson, “Mercedes online ads viewed more by fraudster robots than humans,” Financial Times, May 26, 2014.
- "ATS London Panel Preview: Click Fraud Detection And Prevention," ExchangeWire, August 11, 2014.
- Alex Kantrowitz, "Ad-Fraud Operation Fools Detection Companies, Nets Millions," Advertising Age, June 30, 2014.
- Zach Rodgers, “Telemetry Calls Out Browser Plugins For Video Ad Injection,” Ad Exchanger, February 4, 2013.
- Alex Kantrowitz, "Florida-Based Ad Fraudsters Skim Millions From Advertisers, Then Disappear," Advertising Age, June 11, 2014.
- Robert Cookson, "Fraud lurks in shadows of changing digital advertising landscape," Financial Times, July 10, 2014.
- Vicki Owen, “Business blooming at online advertising service Telemetry,” Daily Mail, February 5, 2012.