“Let’s face it, nobody likes ads,” Reggie Raghav Jerath, the CEO and founder of Gather Network, doesn’t try to be diplomatic. Afterall, this common irritation with ads online is also the crux of his business model.
Gather is a platform that allows publishers to monetise without ads. How you may ask. The answer is via Blockchain technology. “Blockchain is changing how we see the future. Publishers, digital creators all understand the role it plays in giving them the right to ownership,” Jerath said.
Jerath started his career in Oil and Gas, where he was managing a couple of bases in and out of Iraq leading a team of 200 or so people. However, ISIS invaded and captured most of the oil rigs. Post evacuating the staff, he decided he wanted to shift industries. He ended up working in advertising for a bit. This is where he realised the problem with the traditional advertising model.
The traditional advertising model means publishers are not rewarded as they should be for their hard work, he said. “…and let’s not forget the most important question for advertisers: which ads are driving which sales? This question seeks to know where to spend the next advertising dollar, and it’s all about evaluating the efficacy or calculating the return on investment of the advertising world,” Jerath asserted.
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In the digital ad space, advertising is a game of clicks and views. However, tracing which ad is particularly driving sales is still the most challenging aspect. The traditional ad industry relies on ‘cookies’ which means every website you visit, the duration, the time you spend—everything is being stored to ensure that ads are displayed to you accordingly. “People now realise that nothing comes for free and marketers will continue facing evolving privacy regulations and the phasing out of third-party cookies,” he pointed out.
With its operations opening in Gurgaon, Gather is now foraying into India. “The primary goal of Gather has always been to fix the internet’s broken business model.”
How does Gather Network work?
Gather Network rewards publishers by focussing on what it calls sessions instead of displaying advertisements. Any publisher or digital creator who has a website can simply paste the ‘Gather script’ into their website. When they do this, they are actually transfering the computing power from the user’s device — minimum 5 per cent — in exchange for GATHER cryptocurrency which can be converted directly into fiat. The longer the session length, the higher the revenue the publishers will generate. “…say for a model for a 30-minute session, the revenue generated could be as high as 20x compared to the traditional advertising models.”
Is there a catch?
Many would think that transferring your computing power could make your PC or mobile device slow, and also bring in security risks. “This is where blockchain comes into the picture, every ounce of computing power we take makes its way through secure nodes, so there is no doubt of data privacy,” Jerath explained. “The safety of user data has never been a major concern in the advertising industry. That is why the platform ensures that users’ data is not collected or held by anyone.”
There is one common aspect between the two models though. Like with any ad-led model, Gather too wants users to spend more time on the site. While in the former this increases the chances of clicks on ads, for Gather the longer the session lengths, the higher the revenue.
What does Gather do with computing power?
Jerath clarified that computing power is used for its cloud business model as part of Gather Cloud. “Most of our revenues come from the cloud business through the computing power users provide us. This is also used for maintaining our servers, eventually flowing back to publishers and as rewards for securing networks thus creating a positive feedback loop,” he explained.
It is obvious that the company’s aim to disrupt the digital advertising model won’t go good with advertisers. “Yes, the ad-industry probably hates us, but that’s not our look out. We are essentially trying to give content creators more ways to monetise their content. The blockchain transformation is here to stay,” he concluded.