I have written about Adify recently in Adify Challenges AdSense. In this series, I have a long conversation with Russ Fradin, an online advertising industry veteran, and currently the CEO of Adify, an innovator in the Online Ad Network space. Presumably, they will help a lot of media companies and upstarts build vertical ad networks, and offer an alternative to the Google-Yahoo duopoly. Adify has just raised $20 Million.
SM: Russ, you were one of the founders of Adify, correct? RF: I founded Adify with the two original founders of Flycast. A few months ago myself and one of my cofounders realized it was more appropriate for me to take the CEO role and for him to have the chairman roll. It was really an evolution. Larry is still here, and there is no major change. With this new round of funding we are going to be hiring more people, we realized it was time to formalize things.
SM: Can you give me a bit of a background? It looks like you all worked together at Flycast, and now Adify seems to be doing quite well. RF: Flycast was phenomenally successful. It was the first online ad network. My two cofounders and I started Flycast and it was, in 1996, back when DoubleClick was in the RepFirm Media business, before they had even launched Dart.
Flycast was really the first performance based ad network. We started years before Advertising.com and ValueClick.com. I was one of the first couple of employees of Flycast, which is how I met Rick Thompson and Larry Braitman, my cofounders. At some point in 1999 FlyCast went public and a few months later was bought by CMGI and was rolled into Engage. Flycast was bought for somewhere in the $2-3 Billion range, so it was very successful for all of the entrepreneurs, employees, and investors.
Then in 2000, after staying at Engage for a few months as the VP of Business Development, I went to join Comscore before it launched in June of 2000. I ran Business Development and Corporate Development for Comscore for four years and I was involved in starting many of their verticals, such as MediaMetrix. Then I went and spent a year at Wine.com, and we got in George Garrick who had been the CEO of FlyCast, and George and I were trying to turn around Wine.com. During that time Rick and Larry and I were talking, and we started Adify in November of 2005.