Tel Aviv’s Adotomi start-up finds Facebook target audiences

The only specialized games agency with access to Facebook’s application programming interface.

May 26, 2011 22:50
3 minute read.
Joe McCormack

Joe McCormack 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

The question of how to attract the right demographic on Facebook is one that still perplexes even the biggest gaming companies, although many have found that the road leads through a small office in Tel Aviv managed by a Scot, a sabra and a Mexican.

Most Israelis would not have heard of Adotomi, but earlier this month it became the only specialized games agency with access to Facebook’s application programming interface, or API. Through Adotomi’s own integration platform IronFlyer, which digs into Facebook’s demographic and matches player profiles via its patented Intelligent Cluster Group platform, clients now have access to a more effective way of finding their target audience from among the social network’s 600 millionplus users.

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“If you think about all the technology that’s in Israel – you have Intel, you have Google, Microsoft – all of these guys have big R&D services over here, and in terms of gaming, which is actually one of the fastest growing Internet industries, Israel is relatively low down, so we’re really excited to be part of it and to cultivate the gaming scene here,” Adotomi CEO Joe McCormack told The Jerusalem Post Thursday.

McCormack, 31, a native of Dundee, Scotland, who moved to Israel five years ago with his Israeli wife, established Epona Technologies and later Adotomi with business partner and CTO Itamar Maltz after both became disgruntled at the direction in which AdsMarket, where they were both working, was heading.

After providing Internet ad solutions to a variety of companies, they later narrowed their clientele to include only gaming companies. Eighteen months ago they came up with the idea to enter the world of Facebook ads after realizing how little their customers knew about its advertising platform.

“The problem back then was it was a very new kind of system,” McCormack said. “If you think about it, Facebook hasn’t been around that long, and the ads side of thing has been around even less. So people were very suspicious of it, and a lot of people were using bad practice to run ads across Facebook.

“What was happening was there was a lot of brand misrepresentation, and companies like Sony and EA were very skeptical of how to go on to this platform. So we understood that there was really a niche to have an agency partner that would go and represent you directly across Facebook.”

According to McCormack, the company is currently in talks with every major player in the industry, counting among its clients big names like German firm Bigpoint, one of the top three gaming portals in the world and the creator of the Battlestar Galactica online game, which this week announced it had passed two million registered players in its first three months.

The relationship with Facebook was “a huge step” for the company, he said, pointing out that it puts Adotomi in an exclusive club of non-American firms working with the social network – a club that includes another Israeli startup, mobile Internet applications developer Snaptu, which was purchased by Facebook for an estimated $60 million to $70m. in March.

As CEO, McCormack is in charge of a growing company that now boasts 18 employees from more than half-a-dozen countries, including COO Elias Sandler, who hails from Mexico.

McCormack says he wouldn’t have been able to build a company like Adotomi in the United Kingdom, which is all the more significant when you consider that he is not Jewish and until a few years ago knew nothing about Israel.

“I didn’t know what humous was; didn’t know that shalom meant hello and good-bye,” McCormack said.

“I have learnt so much coming to Israel,” he said. “First of all, I really appreciate Israelis for their directness. It’s definitely something I have learnt here, coming from such a polite society as Scotland.

“The entrepreneurial spirit here is amazing. In Scotland, in the UK in general, it’s very hierarchical; I can’t go and speak to the CEO of any company I want. Here in Israel, if I have an idea, I can speak to anyone.

“Any CEO of any company will give me five minutes just to hear me out. Everyone has the opportunity in Israel.

There’s an opening for any idea, and I think that’s what really makes things happen here,” McCormack said.

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