Xandr, AT&T's ad company, partners with Baltimore's clean.io - Technical.ly Baltimore

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Oct. 2, 2019 1:07 pm

Xandr, AT&T’s ad company, partners with Baltimore’s clean.io

Through the agreement, clean.io is providing its technology that prevents malicious advertising.
clean.io cofounder Seth Demsey, CEO Matt Gillis, VP of Operations Kathy Knott and cofounder Jay Crystal.

clean.io cofounder Seth Demsey, CEO Matt Gillis, VP of Operations Kathy Knott and cofounder Jay Crystal.

(Courtesy photo)

Federal Hill-based clean.io is set to provide its platform that prevents malicious advertising to Xandr, one of the largest digital ad marketplaces.

Xandr, which is based in New York, is owned by AT&T and was formed in 2018 following the telecommunications company’s acquisition of prominent adtech company AppNexus. The combination made the company a big player in programmatic advertising, or the automated buying and selling of ads.

Through an agreement, it’ll now use the technology of clean.io, which is designed to prevent malvertising — the “bad ads” that lock up screens, and potentially spread malware. As CEO Matt Gillis has said, the company looks to cut into the return on investment a bad actor can gain from spreading bad ads. It allows an ad to be purchased, then blocks the malicious Javascript.

“The advertising ecosystem must advance the prevention of fraud and malware in order to protect end consumers and offer clean, safe marketplaces to publishers and advertisers,” said Steve Truxal, VP of product management at Xandr, in a statement. “By combining our proprietary tools and processes with those of clean.io, Xandr is well-positioned to lead a change in the economic incentives associated with malvertising and, as a result, preserve and protect the consumer experience.”

Along with partnering with one of the largest marketplaces in the space, the agreement signals how clean.io works with the platforms that form the basis for the advertising market, as well as the publishers who are making the transactions.

“We launched an offering specifically for platforms earlier this year that enables them to leverage our unique technology as an augmentation to their existing internal capabilities in combating malvertising,” Gillis said. “The offering has been extremely well received by the most sophisticated leaders in the market, and we anticipate you’ll see additional news from us here.”

The company continues to work with publishers, as well, with the number of sites, apps and platforms it’s working to protect reaching 13,000 as of August.

“It’s important to note that we remain committed to publishers, who are still exposed to the harmful effects of malvertising given the myriad of ways malicious JavaScript can be delivered to webpages and apps,” Gillis added.

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Combining two areas of Baltimore tech strength in adtech and cybersecurity, the company was formed by alums of Baltimore mobile advertising company Millennial Media. Gillis, who was a top exec at Millennial Media and AOL/Oath, joined as CEO earlier this year. By May, the company raised a $2.5 million seed round.

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