A digital ad veteran is leaving the Washington Post hoping to use blockchain technology to save the media industry
- Washington Post ad tech guru Jarrod Dicker has been named CEO of a blockchain tech company built for the media and ad industries.
- The venture, Po.et, promises to help journalists and creators keep track of their content across the web and to protect their revenue rights.
- Dicker sees the technology eventually being used to create a marketplace via which brands can connect directly with creators.
A digital ad veteran sees the tech potentially reinventing both journalism and marketing.
Jarrod Dicker, who until recently served as vice president, innovation & commercial at The Washington Post, has been named CEO of Po.et, a blockchain-based tech platform designed for digital publishing.
Po.et is an open source initiative which promises to make it possible to track digital content and advertising wherever it travels across the internet. The enterprise's ambitions are noble - and quite lofty.
The idea is that journalists and other creators will be able to know where their content is being consumed or repurposed via a centralized digital ledger - like a verifiable time stamp that can't be altered or manipulated.
Dicker, who's credited with building out the Washington Post's proprietary advertising technology division Red (one of Business Insider's most interesting ad tech companies of 2017), sees Po.et as eventually becoming the backbone of a digital marketplace that serves multiple purposes - and ultimately betters the entire media ecosystem.
The Po.et marketplace aims to offer creators and media companies away to figure out just how popular their work is, and also enable them to make sure that their copyrights are being respected and they are getting paid what they're supposed to get paid.
And marketers will theoretically be able to log onto a Po.et-powered digital dashboard to see which creators are resonating on the web, and which might be a good fit to partner with, or even pay to produce content on their behalf.
Of course, getting an entire industry to agree on anything is never easy. Dicker believes the time is right.
"We're at this point in the industry when it feels like everyone is running uphill," Dicker told Business Insider. "Consumers are saying no to advertising through ad blocking. Publishers are feeling beholden to platforms. And there are real questions being asked like 'can media companies survive?' So we need to recalibrate what the value of content is."
Right now, Po.et is open sourced and free for creators to use. Over time the company plans to introduced paid services designed to help media companies license, commission and acquire content, Dicker said.
Po.et isn't the only player trying to bring the blockchain to the media and ad industryds. For example, several startups like Amino see the technology helping stamp down the spread of fraudulent web ads by creating a more transparent money trail.
Dicker, who's previously logged prominent product positions at Time Inc. and HuffPost, said he sees multiple constituencies across the ad/media landscape finding value in this use of blockchain technology. But, if this catches on, it could have the potential to disintermediate players like ad agencies or even publishers, while empoyering a new generation of independent journalists, he said.
"You'll no longer have to go through middlemen," he said. "A GE or a Pepsi, they'll be able to find creators and work directly with them. They may realize, 'We don't need a Vox. We don't need a content studio.'"
"At the same time, creators are going to realize what they're worth," he said. "Some may not need to work with big publications but can go directly to readers."