Is semantic technology helping ads? Hardly

Bambi Francisco Roizen · July 2, 2009 · Short URL:

Former president of IAB, Greg Stuart, says semantic technology isn't close to improving targeting

"The promise of semantics is to bring a level of intelligence [to advertising]," said former Interactive Advertising Bureau President Greg Stuart. "It’s not quite there... advertising based on semantic technology isn't even close to improving targeting."

I ran into Stuart at the 2009 Semantic Technology conference. Stuart was on a couple panels discussing semantics as it applies to advertising and publishing. Stuart also headed the IAB, an organization that creates standards for the online advertising industry.  So, who better to talk to about whether advertising was getting smarter - in other words better targeted - with the integration of semantic technology?  

In software, semantic technology essentially provides a layer of meaning-centered code on top of existing technologies. In other words, software should realize that someone reading an article about gaming company Digital Chocolate probably isn't interested in an advertisement for Ghirardelli chocolates. This has been a problem that advertising companies have been trying to solve for a long time. They still don't have it right and semantic technology hasn't helped, according to Stuart.

Stuart, who happens to also be an angel investor, and who's also seeking an operational role at an advertising or media-related startup, says he hasn't found that billion-dollar-semantic idea yet.

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Bambi Francisco Roizen

Founder and CEO of Vator, a media and research firm for entrepreneurs and investors; Managing Director of Vator Health Fund; Co-Founder of Invent Health; Author and award-winning journalist.

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