PW Interview: Jeh Daruwala CEO Yactraq API, Behavorial Targeting for videos

Ajay Ohri, May 13th, 2013

Here is an interview with Jeh Daruwala, CEO of Yactraq.com . Their work brings machine learning and natural language processing to the potentially blockbuster world of online videos for targeting of ads based on behaviour. Thus the ads are less spammy, much more relevant, and a win-win for audiences, advertisers and content channels.

Describe the Speech to Topics API. How does it work? How does it benefit a customer?

Jeh- Speech2Topics is a REST API that accepts audiovisual content as an input and outputs a JSON file containing quantified topic metadata. This is achieved through a process of speech recognition and natural language processing.

The API is available either directly from Yactraq.com or via Mashape.com. If live streams are to be processed then we also provide a Websocket interface to provide streamed metadata to one or more downstream clients. Both of these interfaces are also accessible via a browser loadable Javascript interface.

Customers typically use Speech2Topics metadata to target ads, profile user behavior, recommend and search for content, even for brand analytics on Youtube videos!

Yactraq is also planning its own content recommendation service that will accept a content ID as an input and provide 5-10 suggested videos as an output. This would empower any video publisher to deliver the type of content recommendations that players like Netflix and Hulu deliver via OTT platforms like Apple TV & Roku; with minimal development effort.

One of the powerful features we have developed is our behavioral targeting. Legacy behavioral targeting based on the text internet merely looks at what URL’s a user has visited. That approach is too basic to gain insight into video usage. Once integrated with a video player, Yactraq metadata can help profile user behavior based on specific topics a user tends to either repeatedly watch, or just fast forward through.

Describe your Speech to Ads product.Do you have any plans for publishing Speech to Ads API ?

Jeh- Speech2Ads uses topics from Speech2Topics in order to generate queries addressed to ad servers and ad networks. We currently have relationships with players like Yahoo, Adknowledge & Local.com that deliver CPC text ads. We are planning future versions of Speech2Ads that will also deliver video, banner and audio ads.

Because of the nature of the XML feeds that deliver ads from ad networks into Speech2Ads (i.e. they are designed to deliver content directly to browsers and thus require browser-level data like an IP address and browser id strings) the Ad delivery side of Speech2Ads is built on Yactraq’s browser Javascript API. For the foregoing reason, we dont offer it as a Mashape.com REST API.

What are some of the ways you are using to excite developers to create mashups using your API ?

Jeh- Yactraq has recently begun to partner with API platforms like Mashape. At their last hackathon the winner was a Yactraq Speech2Topics developer.

What are the ways you ensure security of an authenticated call on your API?

Jeh- The Mashape.com interface represents a secure, authenticated call to Yactraq’s system through a combination of Mashape’s own authentication and the server-server handshaking that takes place between mashape and api.yactraq.com. For direct interaction with Yactraq servers, we use a secret key model at a number of different levels.

What has been the response so far to your product?

Jeh- The last 12 months have been focused on driving adoption. Today Yactraq has indexed millions of minutes in production environments across customers ranging from Michael Robertson’s (MP3.com Founder) DAR.FM to Filmannex.com, a New York based video publisher with 50 million unique visitors/month to Curveu.com’s educational video recommendation application. Other customers and development partners include an Accel funded ad tech leader building a video content exchange, two of the top 5 video platform players and a Nasdaq listed cloud services leader currently testing Yactraq’s API for brand analytics based on Youtube content.

Going forward Yactraq’s emphasis is now beginning to shift towards revenue.

In terms of recognition, Yactraq was declared one the of 20 most innovative tech companies in Canada in 2012 as a CIX Top 20 Winner and has been a TiE50 Finalist for two consecutive years in 2012 and 2013.

How do you see the video content space evolving ? What are your plans for 2013 ?

Jeh- The video space will evolve through picture quality improvements (with e.g. Ultra-HD), the amount of available content will continue to explode with anything from mainstream institutional to long-tail and user generated, and multi-screen social TV will continue to expand. The latter two trends provide a particularly fertile ground for us. They are all heavily focused on metadata enrichment and content identification, monetization and recommendation. Yactraq plans to broaden its outreach to the larger video ecosystem. From a product and technology point of view, we are creating a thorough offering that will seamlessly integrate content and technology platforms. Major partnerships are being established and will be announced in the coming months.

Yactraq is an exciting startup in using targeting ads for the booming online video space. Better ads on your videos? Just another Yactraq API call away!

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