Cameron D'Ambrosi, Managing Director at Liminal
Mano Pillai, Chief Product Officer at LiveIntent
Cameron [00:00:04] Welcome everyone to State of Identity, I’m your host, Cameron D’Ambrosi. Joining me this week is Mano Pillai chief product officer at Live Intent. Mano, welcome to State of Identity.
Mano [00:00:16] Thank you, Cameron. It’s a pleasure to be here. Thanks for having me.
Cameron [00:00:21] Oh, the pleasure is all mine. Really appreciate the time and apologies in advance if I’m completely butchering your name.
Mano [00:00:29] Not at all.
Cameron [00:00:31] Fantastic. Really excited for the conversation here and would love to dive into what you’re building at live intent, your views on the broader space and where you think this digital identity market is headed. But before we do that, I do love to ask folks to walk us through a little bit of their career journey says here in your bio that you have over 20 years of business, product and technology experience across identity, data analytics and privacy, preserving machine learning, IoT and internet payment systems. Can you talk us through a little bit about some of that career journey? Some of those stops along the way that have informed, you know, your perspective that you brought to the LiveIntent platform in and some of these perspectives I hope you’ll share with us on the future of digital identity in general.
Mano [00:01:19] Sure. Sure. Thanks, Cameron. Well, I was fortunate to start my career as an engineer working for a company called Cyber Cash that built one of the first digital payment systems and payment gateway for the internet. The company pioneered payment systems on the internet through a secure payment system that allowed connecting financial transactions and commerce on the internet was missing. This is about 20 to 25 years ago. Subsequently, I had an opportunity to work as an engineer at Netscape and then at AOL. This is where my interest and focus and identity began by being part of building the Backend Services Infrastructure Authentication Authorization Service, the single sign on protocols as they emerged, and user profile and personalization systems. Since AOL, I had the opportunity to be part of a startup called Adis, which provided a social bookmarking service and tools for publisher personalization and ad design, and also building identity and audience targeting for advertising use cases, leveraging data from about 14 million websites. And this is now part of Oracle’s data accessories business, part of Oracle’s data cloud. Since that this I switch from engineering and engineering management role to product management and worked for NuSTAR, a leading marketing in full and I led product management, building, data management and analytics for marketing use cases. And this is around the time when identity graphs were getting popular to power omnichannel marketing use cases and people based marketing to reach the right person at the right time on the right device. And at NuSTAR, my focus was to launch an identity graph to power analytics measurement and attribution use cases. After NuSTAR, I co-founded a startup called Mikasa, which started off as an iottie company. The goal of bridging the physical and digital worlds. The idea was to gather ambient, contextual information via sensors and marry that with digital experience on your phone. But we ended up doing something completely different. You eventually focused on location data and analytics, and because I was eventually acquired by a marketing services provider, calls to list. And this is around the time that privacy and data protection on the internet was getting an increased attention, and I decided to refocus on identity, consumer data protection and privacy. This is when I co-founded ephemeral identity. The idea with ephemeral identity was to eliminate the need to have persistent identifiers, whether it’s third party cookies or other forms of persistent identifiers to be passed between numerous third party systems to enable data driven advertising. If you look at today, the boundaries between public and private information is getting blurred from your website, visit data to new smart connected home products to fitness trackers to IoT sensors that gather and transmit detailed information and consumer data is freely collected, distributed and aggregated by service providers and intermediaries. And if you go back to the beginning of the internet, anonymity, ease of use speed at which you can get information is what made the internet popular. The internet allowed you to have multiple identities or usernames while your physical identity your name on state intact, which is your true identity, and there is no central authority that verifies or protects your identity on the internet. Now, with ephemeral identity, what we tried to do was to bring in ephemerality as data gets transacted. Think of it like, you know, having single use credit card numbers, allowing you one time transaction. And we achieved that through the development of a proprietary software that connects fragmented identifiers to generate, generate ephemeral identifiers. Thus, the delegates transacted and companies will have the ability to anonymize identity data associated for a given context for single use, while at the same time maintained true consumer identity. We are secure channels of communication, whether it’s through secured data exchange or through surrogates or interactions, and also complemented with a secure storage mechanisms. I’ll stop here and then ask any any questions that you have.
Cameron [00:06:31] Yeah, so, you know, look, the I think we’re seeing a number of trends right now in the identity space with regard to this particular segment play, and that is, you know, the elimination of third party cookies or. Seemingly forever looming elimination of third party cookies, I know Google is now reshuffling their proposed solution to the death of third party cookies, and there are some question marks as to whether they’ll follow through with it. But for the purposes of this conversation, let’s assume third party cookies are going away. First party data for businesses is becoming more important, and these shifts are also placing a newfound level of importance on alternate use cases in identity for companies that have developed, you know, identity graphs and other ways of tying together consumers and their relationships across brands. Where do you see LiveIntentkind of playing in this new landscape and what the impact? You know, the rise of first party data is going to have on the platform?
Mano [00:07:34] Yeah, that’s a great question, Cameron. You know, the best practices are constantly evolving, right? So with live intent, live internet delivers ads within email newsletter inventory, and that’s the core business at which then got extended into identity services. So the core of everything that LiveIntentdoes is an email. Email inherently is an opt in channel where there is consent and publishers and advertisers. Publishers actually trust LiveIntentto handle their data, and LiveIntentprovides a mechanism for publishers to monetize their email inventory and also connected with their web. So one of the things that we do very well is to unify first party data for publishers. For example, if you are a publisher or an edge dies of having multiple web properties and you want to unify your your data across multiple vet properties and create a private customer graph a first party graph. Our technology enables you to do that. And in addition to this, since Livingston sees users on a regular basis through the email channel, Lavington is able to actually provide more value in terms of reactivation of, let’s say, dormant emails or, you know, remarketing and remarketing use cases by way of, you know, providing services that allows them to win back their lost customers and things like that.
Cameron [00:09:26] You know, I was just going to say, so it sounds like you at LiveIntentare optimistic about the possibilities for a future anchored around, you know, first party data and companies really maximizing the extent to which they can develop these relationships with consumers outside of of reliance on on third party cookies. And that in some ways the fears that that the death of third party cookies is going to kind of kill the ability for brands to connect with their customers as we know it maybe is is a bit shortsighted. Is that a fair assessment?
Mano [00:10:04] Yeah, that’s correct. That’s correct. You know, we are actually providing publishers the ability to do, acquire, retain and reengage, you know, using their first party data sets. And that’s that’s key to how we are approaching identity as third party cookies go away. We have created a solution called Authenticated Bridge Framework, where you have you see the customer or an email channel and the publisher. Trust us to handle that data by putting tags on their pages. And we’re able to deterministic link the email engagement with website visits in a log environment and create that connection. This allows you to activate data from a first party context, if you will.
Cameron [00:10:57] Am I wrong in assuming that you know the persistence the rather than relying on some of these, you know, cookie IDs that served as the persistent identifier, you can achieve many of these same benefits by using email address and do so. You know, maybe two birds with one stone is that is the wrong metaphor here. But in the notion that you’re able to one both respect consumers privacy and have this be, you know, an an opt in privacy respecting paradigm, while at the same time offering those UX experiences that consumers have to, in some regard, taken for granted that had been powered by third party cookies. You know, the notion of websites knowing who you are when you join remembering your preferences, being able to offer you, you know, customized or tailored experiences, we can kind of do both of those things without some of the the bad side effects of persistent third party cookie tracking.
Mano [00:11:59] Yeah, that’s correct. I mean, you hit a couple of areas which are important, right? One being an opportune environment to, you know, providing that persistence email inherently is cross-device and, you know, and is an excellent identifier. However, one thing that we are extremely careful is to provide data security. So we use encryption technologies so that the data does not leak publisher data, does not leak and get into the hands of bad actors, right? So we’re extremely cautious about handling publishers data, and they trust us in doing so.
Cameron [00:12:43] Interesting in terms of applications, obviously, the applications for this type of data. I think in many ways have lived right now in that the marketing communications, you know, front loaded, if you will, into the part of the consumer experience where we’re looking to bring users into the top of our funnel. What are your thoughts on, you know, the potential applicability of these technologies to support the customer experience in terms of authentication, fraud detection, other use cases, maybe deeper in the identity lifecycle?
Mano [00:13:19] Yeah, that’s that’s a great question. Like one of the one of these games that we come across often is fraud detection, right? So specifically account takeovers. So the the data that the data unification capabilities and the better handling capabilities that we have allows us to provide publishers with signals to tell whether, you know, a transaction is a fraudulent derivative transaction. And you know that web interaction is a fraudulent interaction. Or if, let’s say, someone’s trying to do an account takeover, we are able to alert using our identity backbone so that publishers can take an action. So the services are not just limited to digital advertising, marketing or personalization, it goes beyond that and we are well positioned to serve those markets.
Cameron [00:14:18] And how do you envision the future of consented data having an an impact on the space? I think it remains to be seen how, you know, data privacy mandates and GDPR, like regulatory regimes around the globe, are going to continue to impact the ability to leverage these types of data for marketing purposes as well. Based on the existing carve outs, to a lesser degree, for kind of these fraud and risk use cases, you know, obviously nobody knows the future, especially with regard to what governments are going to do. But do you remain optimistic that you’re still going to have access to these data sets moving forward?
Mano [00:15:03] Yeah. I mean, data privacy has been called as the most important issue in the next decade and and has taken a center stage. And thanks to legislation like, you know, the European Union’s GDPR and California Consumer Privacy Act and so companies, developers and researchers are are actually working towards keeping up with these requirements. And privacy by design is now part of part of the DNA, and it is integral to, you know, all these regulations. But that alone, I don’t think is going to solve the issues of, you know, data privacy, security or even consent management. Consent management is complex. As you know, the future, the way I see it is, it’s going to be a combination of regulations and also technology, specifically around privacy preserving techniques. You know, there are a number of techniques that have emerged in the last three to four years from a privacy preserving standpoint, you know, for example, this. He said this differential privacy that are secure multiparty computing. There are a number of new technologies that are coming up the future, the way I see it is going to be a combination of regulation and technology. And I’m confident that technology can actually get the text and contribute to ensuring data privacy and security. And we might be able to navigate the complexities of user consent and. And I’m optimistic.
Cameron [00:17:01] I I think I largely agree with with all of those points, I think that the key element for me around this interface between platforms and consumers is all about right informed consent, the notion of letting consumers know what information you’re requesting from them and why you’re requesting it from them. And I think your likelihood. That they’re going to share it with you is much, much higher because for all of the concerns that people have around, I don’t want to be tracked and this is making me surrender data that I don’t want to share. People appreciate things like having a website, recognize that they still had items in their cart after returning or load their preferences in regarding content they want to see. People I think have maybe spoiled is is the wrong word. But to the extent that so many of these experiences online in our lives are algorithmically curated, it becomes pretty obvious when you go back to, you know, a standardized set of content on a website that has not been tailored to your preferences. And I don’t necessarily think people want to move away from that. They just want to understand what those tradeoffs are, what they’re actually giving up. And I think email address is a thing that people by and large are comfortable sharing and and hopefully will continue to consent to sharing.
Mano [00:18:25] That’s correct, yeah. And to your point, people are comfortable providing the content if there is a value exchange. Right. So for service providers, the question that they should ask themselves is, is there enough value that you’re providing the consumer for them to share information with you so that you can provide an experience that that is that that makes sense for them?
Cameron [00:18:55] So what is next for LiveIntentwould love to ask that question in the context of some magic crystal ball predictions. One of my favorite questions to ask folks, you know, what do you see coming down the pike in the next one to three years that’s going to impact LiveIntentand the broader digital identity market? And where do you hope you can take the platform given that information?
Mano [00:19:17] Yeah, I mean, from a LiveIntentperspective, we are ready for in a very fortunate position where large brands and and and publishers trust us with their data. So today we are serving their needs and we are providing that in a manner that is privacy friendly and and with consent. The bigger opportunity is to expand, expand and provide additional value. When we can, we can help our publisher bays and our our existing advertiser base and other enterprises to do expand beyond by providing additional services like, you know, an example that I stated earlier was to win back lost customers not doing email refreshes know reactivating their dormant emails. There are a number of services that we can provide on top of email. Email to a great extent is a underutilized asset, which is getting more and more attention today. And by combining privacy data security, I think there’s a lot of opportunity that opens up for living tenant. And the position that live in tent is is today. It handles a large number of it, addresses a large number of U.S. consumer base through the e-mail channel. And extending that is the bigger opportunity for my intent.
Cameron [00:21:00] I remain really excited for this future. I think we’re we’re in the early days still of unlocking the value of, you know, technologies that have been heretofore more focused on, you know, marketing applications and how these alternative and and probabilistic datasets can be married with deterministic data sets to drive, you know, the combination of privacy preserving as well as low user friction digital identity. So really, really tremendously bullish about what the future has in store for our listeners who have been listening to what you’re laying down are interested to get in touch, get involved. Learn more about the lab intent platform. What is the best place for them to go?
Mano [00:21:48] Well, allowing 10 dot com is the best place to learn about what we do. And of course, you can contact us through our website and will always, you know, respond in a timely manner to address any needs.
Cameron [00:22:05] Amazing. Well, Mano, thank you so much for your time, really, really appreciate it. We’ll be sure to include those links in the show notes below and hope to continue this conversation with you again. Check back in and see how these predictions panned out.
Mano [00:22:21] Yeah. Thank you so much, Cameron. Thanks for having me today.
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