A digital ad veteran is leaving the Washington Post hoping to use blockchain technology to save the media industry

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Jarrod Dicker
Washington Post ad tech
guru Jarrod Dicker

Washington
Post


  • 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.

Blockchain technology
is often described as a would-be
revolutionary savior
for many
industries
.

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.”

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