For centuries past, the idea that a state could be sovereign was always connected to its ability to guarantee the best interests of its own citizens. Thus, if a state could not act in the best interests of its own citizens, it could not be thought of as a “sovereign” state.[wikipedia]
On Tuesday at 9:05am Eastern time (1.28.14) we announced the creation of a new company: sovrn Holdings, Inc., (“sovrn”).
sovrn isn’t new in the sense of a start-up, but new in the sense of a renewed and intense focus on what made Federated Media and Lijit Networks (acquired by Federated Media in October 2011) great – the unwavering commitment to independent and influential online publishers.
We spend a good deal of our lives online. Whether it’s for information, commerce, entertainment or knowledge, we’ve all come to depend on what we discover, consume and share online. Publishers – the ones that create and curate content – are the cornerstones to what we all cherish about the Internet. Yet these publishers practice their craft largely in silos, without reference points or a deep understanding about how they compare. They don’t have the data they need about their site(s) or their readership to truly grasp how their site is viewed and valued by other important stakeholders (e.g. advertisers).
Some years ago when we were still a small and relatively fragile start-up company, someone wrote “Publishers are our People” way up on the wall near the rafters of our old conference room. It was too high for anyone to stand and reach, and the office had no ladders. It stayed there for years, in big block print (red, no less). When we moved to our new offices a group of employees painted the same words in a huge mural on a big bare wall. The words are simple: “Publishers are our People”, but what they represent gets to core of why we exist as a company.
We advocate for and help independent and influential publishers. Help them understand their readership and how marketers view that readership. Help them engage their audience of readers with tools, technologies, and resources. Help them make money and profit from their hard work. This work is our mission. It’s the reason we exist. To foster an ecosystem where these independent and influential publishers can thrive.
When Lijit joined forces with John Battelle and the team at Federated Media, things really took off. The network of publishers grew from thousands of sites generating 100M impressions per day to more than 2 million sites and nearly 1B impressions per day. The programmatic and RTB exchange business has grown along the same trajectory and today we pay publishers $2M per week! We own and operate one of the most sophisticated and largest online advertising and data platforms in the world, and we’re still growing like mad.
In the coming months you’ll see us transition to our new company name, sovrn, as we double down on building out more resources and more offerings for publishers. Many of those will be services, tools, and revenue opportunities from the thousands of companies that operate in this ecosystem. And we’ll continue our work to pursue advanced yield optimization, data management, and data insights for our publishers and our marketing buyers.
I couldn’t be more excited for the journey that lies ahead.
- Walter Knapp, CEO, sovrn