Mobile Ad Blocker Shine Rebrands As ‘Rainbow’ and Tries to Cozy Up to Marketers

Will they want to work with the controversial company?

- Credit by Rainbow
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Only one year ago, Shine CMO Roi Carthy candidly called out execs from Yahoo, Google and AOL during a Mobile World Congress panel about ad blocking, comparing digital advertising techniques to “military-grade tracking.”

Times have apparently changed for the Israel-based startup, or at least the company hopes so in terms of its relationship with the advertising community. Today, Shine is renaming and branding itself Rainbow to reflect its evolution from an ad blocker to what the company calls a “co-marketed solution” aimed at consumers.

Rainbow still works with mobile carriers, though the company said it stopped selling them network-level blocking services six months ago. In exchange for opting into a panel program set up by a carrier, advertisers can essentially run surveys with groups of users who have opted in—anywhere from 5 million to 10 million consumers, per CRO James Collier—and track ad performance based on industry guidelines from organizations such as the Interactive Advertising Bureau and the Media Rating Council.

Collier said 30 to 40 global carriers have tested the new tool, including U.K. carrier and client Three Group. The tool tracks viewability and attribution, and those metrics are looped anonymously into a carrier’s CRM data so “that you can see that the targeting you do for 18- to 24-year-old males is actually only about 20 percent accurate,” Collier said.

Signing up for the service is “as simple as clicking on a link,” he added. “All of the activation happens on the network side so that opt-in is fast, seamless and most importantly, free.”

So how does Rainbow make money, since the verification portion of the product is free? The insights and measurement portion of the tool is akin to a license-based model, Collier said. That means advertisers can find out if their creative meets the requirements to be shown for free, but they have to pay to receive network-based stats. Publishers can also pay for data-targeting services to beef up their own ad efforts. Collier declined to disclose pricing.

Vetting ads and determining which ones are “good” or not is obviously subjective, but Rainbow said it’s basing its guidelines off ones set by the Interactive Advertising Bureau and others. Collier said Rainbow has been in talks with the IAB about the trade group’s guidelines for the better ads consortium.

“Our verification engine deterministically passes ads based upon industry-agreed parameters from the upcoming IAB [or] coalition standards,” Collier said. “We have been consulting with the IAB over a number of months. We are also working with many of their members in order to bring this to market.”

IAB U.K.’s director of data and industry programmes, Steve Chester, said: “We’re really pleased to see that Shine has moved away from mobile network-level ad blocking, embracing and committing to working with the industry in the ongoing development of better ad standards. The IAB U.K. as well as other industry bodies have been in discussions with Shine to ensure we are kept up to speed on their proposed new platform, Rainbow, to understand its ongoing development and continue to encourage continuing collaboration with the industry. We look forward to receiving further information about Rainbow as and when it develops, and how it will align to industry agreed standards.”

It’s not the first time a mobile ad blocker has tried to cozy up to agencies. When popular mobile ad blocker AdBlock Plus launched its own “marketplace” for advertising last September, the company initially claimed to be working with companies like Google and AppNexus; both companies were quick to distance themselves from the Cologne, Germany-based ad blocker.

Adweek reached out to a handful of media and tech agency execs to get their reactions to working with Rainbow, but they declined to comment for this article. Rainbow didn’t name specific agencies but said it’s working with a “top three global agency group.”

To launch the rebrand, Shine created a consumer-focused marketing campaign ahead of next week’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Check out the spots below.

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@laurenjohnson Lauren Johnson is a senior technology editor for Adweek, where she specializes in covering mobile, social platforms and emerging tech.