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Rob Leathern
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Rob founded Optimal in 2008 and sold it for $35 million to Brand Networks in 2013, where he is currently a member of the board of directors. Rob is recognized as an expert in the field of online advertising and e-commerce, and was the first general manager of advertising at LinkedIn in 2006. Before LinkedIn, Rob was at NexTag where he built up NexTag’s display advertising lead generation and media business, propelling the firm to a position as a top 5 US online advertiser according to Nielsen//NetRatings. Rob began his professional career as an investment banking analyst in New York with ING Barings/Furman Selz, and then in 1999 joined Jupiter Communications as an e-commerce research analyst. Rob left Jupiter in 2003 and joined Nielsen//NetRatings as the company’s director of commerce analytics. Rob holds an AB degree in computer science and economics from Dartmouth College, and received the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst®) designation in 2003. He lives in Boulder, Colorado.

Entries by Rob Leathern

You Are the Weakest Link: Why More Website Compromises Like Reuters Will Happen

(1) Comments | Posted June 24, 2014 | 3:03 PM

If the biggest online technology companies like Microsoft, Google and Yahoo have all themselves acknowledged or apologized in the past for serving malware to consumers via their own advertising code, what about the hundreds of other companies with far fewer resources that are right now executing...

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Why We're Drowning in Junky Data and Sensational Headlines

(1) Comments | Posted November 5, 2013 | 1:04 PM

We are drowning in studies and statistics, many of them dead wrong. This applies to business research just as it does to academic studies. The Economist just wrote about some of these problems and how scientists are dealing with them:

There are errors in a lot more of...

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The LinkedIn Dilemma

(4) Comments | Posted June 14, 2013 | 4:52 PM

Most of us spend a quarter to a third of our days working. Jobs and employment are by definition a key driver of all economic activity, continue to have structural inefficiencies and comprise the largest "lead generation" category of all. It's not a stretch to say that LinkedIn could be...

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Why Advertisers Aren't Asking for Transparency and How Facebook May Change That

(0) Comments | Posted January 30, 2013 | 10:06 AM

I've always had a desire for fairness and transparency that takes many forms. I grew up in South Africa, which in the 1980's and 1990's heavily censored the press, and I think it added to my desire to be totally clear and upfront with anyone I work with, about what...

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The Most Powerful Facebook Mobile Ad Feature Most Marketers Don't Know About Yet

(6) Comments | Posted January 3, 2013 | 5:08 PM

In September 2012 Facebook announced a new targeting option called "Custom Audiences," which it mentioned in its earnings release but which not enough marketers and very few Wall Street analysts appear to understand. It lets marketers target their existing customers by doing a match with hashed versions of their opt-in...

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Why Platform Apps like Pinterest, Socialcam and Viddy Will Help Facebook Grab More Ad Dollars

(1) Comments | Posted May 17, 2012 | 5:25 PM

Risk Factors for Funding the Next Social App Gold Rush


Pinterest is an amazing viral growth story, having grown to more than 18.7 million monthly U.S. visitors in March 2012 according to comScore. We're already seeing other crazy growth numbers from cross desktop/mobile apps like Viddy...

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Just-in-Time Advertising: Why Immediacy Wins

(3) Comments | Posted January 5, 2012 | 10:18 AM

Just-in-time manufacturing has earned companies billions of incremental dollars of profit. Driven by now-CEO Tim Cook shutting down its own manufacturing and outsourcing to more agile suppliers, Apple reduced its inventory on hand from 90 days to five days over several years by switching to "just-in-time"...

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800MM and Counting... Where's Your Brand?

(0) Comments | Posted October 7, 2011 | 1:34 PM

Let's say you're a brand manager or a newly-minted social media director of a mid-to large-sized brand. You sit down one day to look at your Facebook presence. Or more importantly, to start analyzing your engagement levels across social media. Chances are, you're going to fit into one of these...

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