It’s the walled gardens’ world; we just live in it. That is the growing fear in pretty much all walks of society these days.

None more so than in media, where, on the one hands, publishers lament the attention and time gobbled by social networks, apps and search platforms, and, on the other, advertisers grumble at the paucity of choice they have to reach audiences.

John Gentry thinks its time to rebalance the equation. The president of OpenX, an ad-tech company which has operated a web ad exchange, wants to empower publishers against the might of the big platform operators.

“What you’ve got today is about 30% of consumer’s time is being spent with companies like Google and Facebook, but about 60%, maybe 65% of all ad dollars are going over there,” Gentry says in this video interview with Beet.TV.

“That’s a fundamental asymmetry that is just a huge problem to protect and keep a thriving open web when that’s happening.

“Your favourite publisher or your favourite forum, the sites that you go to and where you spend the majority of your time, they’re not getting the ad revenue that they really should be earning.”

How did it get this way? Because buying advertising in platforms like Facebook is much easier than it is on the open web, Gentry suggests.

So his OpenX is wants to do something about it. OpenX is a veteran operator of a web ad exchange. Now Gentry says the company is “taking that to a different level”, by offering up not just ad inventory itself but also intelligence about the users accessing it.

“For example, demographics about them or maybe, with the zip code, where they live,” Gentry says.

Despite the growing importance of “first-party” data, through which brands and publishers try to get users to supply details about their identity, not everyone is yet practising the preach.

“Publishers really don’t understand who was on their site,” OpenX’s Gentry reckons.

He wants OpenX to create a “blend” of publishers’ own audience data plus data OpenX has on consumers from a variety of sources.

If the plan works, publishers will have more data points on their audiences, for offering targeted ads to ad buyers.

This video is from a Beet.TV series “Unlocking People-Based Marketing on the Open Web presented by OpenX.”   Please find more videos from the series on this page.   

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