Q&A with Rich Kahn, CEO and Co-Founder at Anura

Rich Kahn, CEO and Co-Founder at Anura, has been a leader in the online advertising industry since 1993. In 2003, he started eZanga.com, a digital marketing firm specializing in pay per click and pay per call advertising. His commentary has been featured in a variety of publications and he’s been named an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year.

MEDIA 7: Please take us through your career journey. How did you come up with the idea of Anura?
Rich Kahn:
I began my initial career in Internet Marketing back in 1993. Being so enthralled with what the internet could do, I quickly put together a newsletter sharing all of what I was learning about the new medium. As the newsletter grew, my readers would inquire about advertising within my newsletter, and that sparked my first digital marketing company.

In an effort to grow my audience, I purchased a list of ‘opt-in’ email users from an Internet company, however, ultimately it ended up being fraudulent. As a result, this list almost cost me my company along with many other problems. This was my first experience with fraud on the Internet.

In late 1994, with the introduction of the web browser, I quickly saw a whole new direction of where the internet was heading. Technologies were being built to make it easy for the average person to take advantage of this awesome and advanced new technology. 
I got involved in all different kinds of technology and developed some of my own throughout the years. In the late 90’s I built a company that paid users to surf the web, where I was written up in WIRED magazine about this company. The article found that some of my users were using software to earn money while they were not online. To combat this user fraud, I built my first fraud detection software and began my journey of mitigating fraud.

In the early 2000’s I was an advertiser promoting a variety of offers such as lead generation and e-commerce. However, my ROI was not where I thought it should be, so I figured there must be something going on with the traffic I was buying. After doing some research I realized it was fraud…which I had seen before. This took place around 2005, which made me seek out a fraud solution, but nothing existed. So, what does a developer do when a solution doesn’t exist? We build one! That was the birth of the Anura solution.

When you accurately remove fraudulent traffic your ROI will increase. If ROI increases, client demand increases.


M7: Can you please briefly describe the impact Anura’s platform will have if a company starts implementing it? How will it ensure a better ROI for them?
RK:
When our clients first implement Anura, our first goal is to establish a baseline of their fraud rate. We then curate a game plan to effectively reduce and eliminate the fraud. On average, we find 25% fraud with new clients, however, Anura has seen extremes well above this number. Our ultimate goal is to build a plan for them to utilize our data in order to cut the fraud rate in half while maintaining or growing their overall volume. Once we reach that goal, typically within a few weeks, we set a further goal to cut that in half again. As their fraud rate drops, their ROI will increase. If they are selling this traffic, their clients will see a lift in ROI and want to spend more with them since the traffic is more valuable.

Think of it this way, when you accurately remove fraudulent traffic (which never truly converts), your ROI will increase. If ROI increases, client demand increases. When client demand increases, your company grows! 
Finally, once we get the fraud rate to a reasonable level, our clients can then surgically mitigate each and every fraudulent visitor using our real-time signals to make real-time decisions, one of the many benefits of our solution.

M7: Any challenges that you face regarding handling and maintaining such a highly advanced platform?
RK:
Absolutely! Fraud is has grown to a $42 billion problem as of 2019 and is expected to grow to over $100 billion within the next couple of years. With this extreme growth, more and more people are getting into the fraud game and learning how to take a piece of this multi-billion-dollar industry. That means more and more talented fraudsters are entering the space and creating unique malicious attacks across the web.

Over the last 16 years, we have developed a very specific process to help us identify new anomalies occurring across the billions of transactions we see each day. This helps us stay on top of all new fraud attacks coming across the internet. The challenge that we face is that fraud is evolving on a daily basis and we continually spend significant resources battling the new fraud attacks so that we can keep our clients protected.


Clients are much more inclined to provide valuable feedback about your product or service in order to improve it to be the best it can be to suit their wants and needs..

M7: What is your go-to resource – websites, newsletters, any other – that helps you stay updated with facts, in a world of Ad Fraud?
RK:
Honestly, the stuff that we are learning is not something that you will find on any website, newsletter, or social media. Our go-to resources is the data we collect across our client base. Combining the data with our own machine learning and experienced engineering team gives us what we need to stay on top of ad fraud and keep our clients protected.

M7: Your podcasts are extremely informative. How do you manage to strike a balance between work and such other commitments?
RK:
It’s not easy to keep on top of all the work that we need to do while also committing time to podcasts and blogs to educate the general population on ad fraud. We believe it very useful to invest this time to share our fraud findings to the public, as it is a subject not many are familiar with but could be a victim too. In some cases, we are able to help companies like Google, find large amounts of fraud in their network, and give them the tools to block it. A few years ago, Anura released a whitepaper on the largest fraud find in history…over $3 Billion a year in fraud. We gave the detailed analytics to Google and they were able to block the apps that were committing fraud. We consider that a win for all of us good guys!


Combining the data with our own machine learning and experienced engineering team gives us what we need to stay on top of ad fraud and keep our clients protected.

M7: What are the major advertising and marketing tools that you use to hike up the brand awareness of your company?
RK:
We are heavily focused on content marketing, in order to educate the public about fraud, while also bringing brand awareness. In addition, we like to use a variety of digital advertising channels to market our services to people that are in the market for a solution. Like many, we also utilize our social media outlets such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, to push all of our latest content and updates. However, our favorite channel to use is industry tradeshows, so we can give the human touch to such an advanced product. Plus, nothing beats face to face interactions. Unfortunately, due to COVID, tradeshows are on hold for now, but we are hopeful that we will get back to them in the next few months.

M7: The best advice you have ever received?
RK:
A while ago a good friend of mine, a serial-entrepreneur, gave me a vital piece of advice that he uses at every one of his businesses. He said, “As the owner of your business you need to talk directly with your clients and listen to what they have to say.”

After all, they are the users of your product/service and typically know more about it than most of your employees. Let’s face it, your company thrives because of your clients, and they are willing to pay for your product/service to solve a problem within their own company so they can be successful as well. Clients are much more inclined to provide valuable feedback (both positive and negative) about your product or service in order to improve it to be the best it can be to suit their wants and needs as your clients.

In my career, I have built many successful platforms that are client-facing. I have used this advice for all of the platforms I have built and have had great user feedback because I have always listened to my clients.

ABOUT ANURA

Anura.io is a best-of-breed ad fraud detection solution. Anura is designed to allow our clients to identify and remove fraud from their campaigns so they can see an immediate increase in quality traffic and performance, in real-time. We are able to allow our clients to experience immense growth with our product, reducing fraud, TCPA violations, and ultimately increase conversions and revenue, allowing them to invest back into themselves and evolve as companies. Anura.io is constantly evolving by using artificial intelligence combined with machine learning, unlike most of the SaaS based solutions that update their systems quarterly or even less frequent. Instead of adding more “bells and whistles”, our development team spends their day maneuvering the evolving tactics that fraudsters are using to get around solutions in place; this is why it is so important to us to constantly evolve our product.

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