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Ubex aims to match advertisers who have ads to place with publishers who own websites where the ads can be displayed. Its platform uses artificial intelligence and smart contracts to ensure that the ads are reaching internet users who are likely to be interested in them.
By streamlining the ad placement process, increasing advertisers' confidence in the relevance of the ads they place, and eliminating the need for middlemen, Ubex hopes to disrupt the digital advertising industry.
The ICO for UBEX, the Ubex token, takes place between May 21 and August 13, 2018. (Citizens or residents of the United States, Iran, and North Korea cannot participate in the token sale, according to Ubex.)
The Problem and Solution
The digital advertising ecosystem is subject to a number of problems:
- Advertisers have difficulty finding content publishers who can provide a place to display their ads. Traditionally, middlemen have addressed this need, but their services come at a steep price. Middlemen fees inflate the costs that advertisers pay and reduce the revenue of publishers.
- The middlemen who connect advertisers to publishers control much of the information about exactly where ads are displayed and how they perform. As a result, it is difficult for advertisers to assess ad campaigns or optimize placement strategies.
- Payment structures for digital ads have traditionally been based on a pay-per-click model, in which advertisers pay every time a user clicks on their ad. This is a rather primitive approach that limits the number of ways in which advertisers can influence users. A well-placed ad might be effective even if users do not click on it.
- Many of the ads that Internet users see are not relevant to them. This means that advertisers' money is spent poorly. It also creates a poor user experience, because users are inundated with ads that they do not want to see.
Ubex proposes to solve these problems by building a platform with two key components:
- An automated ad placement service that connects advertisers with publishers using artificial intelligence. Specifically, the Ubex placement platform will be driven by "neural networks," according to the company. These networks will determine which ads are the right fit for which websites.
- Smart contracts that are executed on the blockchain. Smart contracts confirm that an ad is actually relevant. This allows advertisers to ensure that their money is being spent effectively. It also helps users by increasing the relevance of the ads they see.
Ubex is not the only digital advertising platform that aims to automate ad placement or make informed decisions about which ads should be placed on which websites. Many other advertising platforms, including those of blockchain-based startups as well as traditional digital advertising services, use algorithms to automate how ads are placed.
However, advanced artificial intelligence powered by neural networks is a key part of Ubex's value offering. Neural networks are compilations of data that Ubex's algorithm can use to determine which ads are the best fit for a certain site. The use of neural networks is a distinguishing feature for Ubex.
The Ubex founding team includes:
Artem Chestnov: Chestnov has a background in marketing. He has worked with at least one other blockchain-related startup, called LAToken, of which he was managing director for six months in 2017. Most of his other experience has been with established enterprises.
Daniel Biesuz: Biesuz is a legal and compliance expert. He has worked in this capacity with several other blockchain startups in recent years.
The Ubex token, called UBEX, is an ERC-20 token that serves as a payment mechanism on the Ubex ad placement platform. Advertisers establish accounts using UBEX tokens, which are then debited from their accounts when ads are served.
UBEX tokens can also be earned by website owners in exchange for data that they supply to support Ubex's neural networks.
The source code for Ubex's smart contract is available on GitHub. Its artificial intelligence code does not appear to be publicly available, but that is unsurprising since releasing this algorithm to the public could reduce the competitiveness of Ubex.
Ubex operates in a crowded market. A number of other startups, such as MAD Network and MetaX, are building platforms similar to Ubex. Meanwhile, these startups are competing with well-established advertising players, like Google, whose cornering of the existing market means that new entrants have a steep hill to climb if they want to disrupt the way digital ads are placed and paid for.
That said, Ubex stands out in certain ways. Although its recurring references to "neural networks" in marketing material sounds buzzword-y, the company does appear to have a real commitment to using advanced artificial intelligence techniques to improve the accuracy of ad placement.
Plus, even if Ubex's AI-assisted ad placement doesn't make the platform stand out from competitors as much as the company hopes, its ability to remove middlemen by connecting advertisers with publishers directly and provide payment models that are more sophisticated than simply paying per click will at least set Ubex apart from traditional digital advertising providers.
In addition, while the use of smart contracts to govern payments is neither revolutionary nor unique to Ubex, it adds some transparency to the advertising process. It will prove appealing to advertisers who are reluctant to work with traditional ad placement providers because they are unsure that their ads will be placed effectively.
Our take: Although it is anyone's guess as to which blockchain-based digital advertising startups will prevail in this crowded market, Ubex is as good a company as any other if you are looking to make an investment in this niche.
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Questions and Answers
What is the cost of an Ubex token?
One Ubex token costs 0.00001 ether or its equivalent. Tokens can also be purchased using bitcoin or Litecoin.
How many tokens are available during the Ubex ICO?
Ubex is creating 4,000,000,000 tokens total. Of those, 72 percent are available to the public during the ICO.
Which blockchain does Ubex use?
Ubex’s tokens run on the Ethereum blockchain.
Who can buy Ubex tokens?
Anyone except citizens or residents of the United States, Iran, and North Korea.
Where is Ubex based?
Ubex’s headquarters are in Switzerland.