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Q&A With ExoClick's CEO Benjamin Fonzé

Rhett Pardon

Going into its eighth year, ExoClick is quite a success story. The Barcelona-based company, one of the largest ad networks in the world, is led by CEO, Benjamin Fonzé.

Fonzé, a former webmaster, started building his open ad network in December 2006 using proprietary ad serving technology with one goal in mind — to provide efficient solutions to every advertiser and publisher on the planet.

Today, we’ve grown into one of the largest ad network in the world, and I’m really proud of the team behind ExoClick. —Benjamin Fonzé

XBIZ World asked Fonzé to explain more about how he got where he is today and on the future of ad and content delivery.

XBIZ: How many years have you been involved in the industry and where did you get your start?

FONZÉ: I have been in the industry for about 15 years now. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long. I started as a webmaster while studying at the university. First with some non adult sites, I had a site with video games reviews, and then I discovered that it was much easier to make some money with porn sites so I launched a TGP and it was an instant hit. One of the programs I used at the time was NoCreditCard.com and when I finished my studies, I moved to Barcelona and joined them as a developer.

XBIZ: What is the story behind ExoClick and how it has become a major force in the biz?

FONZÉ: I started ExoClick in 2006. At that time, most webmasters were using affiliate programs to monetize their ad spots. They would pick whatever banner they thought should work best and use that on their site. They would probably leave it like this for months.

I knew adult webmasters were losing a lot of revenue by not optimizing their ad spots, so I decided to build a small tool that would provide statistics and basic optimizations such as geo-targeting, banner optimizing and rotation of landing pages. I tested it on my sites and the results went beyond my expectations. So I convinced some of my webmaster friends to try it and since then it has never stopped growing.

I remember in 2006, it was very hard, because most webmasters didn’t want to hear about CPM or CPC. It took quite some time to prove them the value of an ad network. Now, it’s become the standard and everyone wants to create an ad network.

Today, we’ve grown into one of the largest ad network in the world, and I’m really proud of the team behind ExoClick. We are over 15 different nationalities at the office and I just could never have imagined that ExoClick would get where it is today.

XBIZ: What ad network services does ExoClick offer its clients?

FONZÉ: To our publishers, we offer a complete solution to monetize their sites. We run both web and mobile formats and manage everything through our own technology. They get real-time statistics on their revenue and are guaranteed an extreme optimization of their inventory as we have over 1,000 active advertisers every single month. Basically, we allow them to focus on building their site while we focus on optimizing their advertising revenue.

As for our advertisers, we work with them as partners, constantly helping them to optimize their campaigns and their marketing. We want them to make the most revenue out of our traffic, and that’s also how we can pay high revenue to our publishers. We build long-term relationships and some of our advertisers have been there since the launch of ExoClick in 2006.

XBIZ: What’s coming up for the company in 2014?

FONZÉ: We are working hard on new features for our ad-serving technology, some that will be released very soon. I can’t get into details yet, but I can tell you that mobile is one of our main focus. Our goal is to offer the best technology on the market when it comes to ad serving.

We are also going to expand in new markets, both vertically and horizontally. And we spend quite a big amount of time structuring the company and looking for new talents, as we went from 20 people to over 40 in just a few months and still growing. We are hunting for talent.

XBIZ: What sector of the online adult business is driving the market these days?

FONZÉ: Well, tube sites are obviously one of the major market drivers today. You can love them or you can hate them, but they are a market reality and they are here to stay, so if you want to grow within this industry, it’s something you should take into consideration.

From a product perspective, I think webcams and dating sites are getting bigger and bigger and one of the best moneymakers today.

XBIZ: What are your concerns for the adult entertainment industry?

FONZÉ: The adult industry used to be one of the most innovative industry on the Internet. Lately we see less innovation coming out of our industry and a lot of companies that are not succeeding to adapt to the new trends. I’m not exactly worried, because porn is not going anywhere. But I hope the industry can become again a source of innovation.

XBIZ: What’s a typical work day like?

FONZÉ: Quick breakfast. Going through emails and answering the most urgent ones. Then I go through my to-do list which is usually very mixed. It can be a call with a client, specifications for a new platform feature, the preparation of a workshop for employee training or responding to an interview ;)

Each day is different and it’s great to be constantly challenged.

XBIZ: When not thinking about the biz, what do you like to do?

FONZÉ: I’m passionate about technology and software development, so even if it’s not strictly biz related, I do spend a lot of time exploring new ideas, developing software and keeping an eye on the new trends.

I’m also lucky enough to be living in Barcelona so I enjoy the great quality of life here. The sun, beach and the sea, going out sailing every now and then.

Horse riding is also a big passion, I own two showjumpers and have been riding since I’m a kid. When I’m not at the office or at home, I’m with my horses.

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