Ground Truth Emerges from Stealth, Provides New Window Into Mobile Internet Usage

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advertisers, publishers, and media companies make more money stands to do well.

“This is a transparent tool. We’re hoping to help grow what’s been a moribund marketplace,” says Evan Neufeld, Ground Truth’s vice president of marketing (and a former comScore Mobile exec). He’s referring to the promise of mobile advertising. And the tool he’s talking about—Ground Truth’s core service—is “mobile measurement,” which he says is distinct from mobile analytics in that it’s about aggregate data across the marketplace, not just detailed information from a given site.

The company isn’t giving many details about its revenue model or potential customers just yet, but Neufeld says it’s a “classic syndicated research model” based primarily on subscriptions, which give companies access to a Web-based interface (and the mobile data). He says using Ground Truth is a “no brainer” for media companies and marketers, and should be of interest to many others, including people developing mobile apps or content platforms—“anyone who touches or wants to monetize the mobile Internet.” Some examples of hypothetical customers: Hearst, Yahoo, Amazon, Orbitz.

Besides its technology, Ground Truth’s greatest advantage would seem to be its deep relationships with wireless carriers, handset manufacturers, and ad networks. The company wouldn’t provide any details about its partners, but this point seems reasonable given the pedigree of Wilson, Libes, and its investors (including venture capitalist Tom Huseby) in the mobile space. And it’s the only way a small company would gain access to all of that mobile network data.

Ground Truth has a three-person office in New York City, with the rest of its 15 employees based in Seattle headquarters. For the rest of 2010, Neufeld says customers can expect regular rollouts of new data and new features, as the company continues to “expand and grow the granularity and depth of the data” and form new partnerships. He says Ground Truth will also “get awesome feedback from the marketplace” about the features that people like and don’t like—which, of course, will help it fine-tune its offerings.

How will Ground Truth impact the average mobile Web user? Neufeld thinks if Ground Truth is successful at helping the mobile advertising market grow through better transparency, consumers in turn will get “better content, better experiences, and better pricing for what people can do on their devices.” That might come about from carriers subsidizing data access, he says, or other ways for content to be subsidized on the mobile Web.

“A huge amount of what people do is going to be on the mobile internet,” Neufeld says. “It’s important that we build a really fair model.”

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Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and Editor of Xconomy Boston. E-mail him at gthuang [at] xconomy.com. Follow @gthuang

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