Luminati says it operates the largest, fastest and most ethical IP proxy network in the world.
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Or Lenchner, chief executive at Luminati, explains how global internet transparency enables businesses in sectors like retail, travel and finance to deliver the best deals to customers.
1.When and how did you get involved with Luminati?
I started at Luminati Networks almost four years ago as the head of the product management team and was appointed as CEO just over a year and a half ago.
Technology and specifically R&D have always been great passions of mine, so it is the perfect company for me. It’s so important when you join a company that you align with its ethics, DNA and culture and this is another reason that it is such a good fit.
I’m a great believer in Luminati’s DNA, which is built around transparency and focuses on achieving success for our customers.
At Luminati you get extensive exposure to a vast amount of global customers as well as multiple advanced data collection use-cases.
We help over 10,000 customers worldwide from start-ups to SMEs to Fortune 500 companies and we enable data research and collection in a variety of industry domains, retail, of course, is among them.
2.How does your business help retailers and consumers?
We work with some of the world’s largest retailers, travel sites, and best-known names in finance, advertising and security (including many Fortune 500 companies). We enable our customers to openly see the same internet that the average consumer sees no matter where they are placed in the world.
This online intelligence is crucial for them when it comes to being competitive. Whether it’s for market research, pricing strategy, or ensuring their products and offers are attracting and will continue to attract their consumers, they need to openly view the internet and have access to publicly available data.
This is what we do at Luminati - we allow all businesses to view the internet with complete global transparency.
Advances in technology mean retailers know when their competition is accessing their site (by identifying their IP address) and will often block them or feed them misleading information. This is to prevent their competition undercutting them on offers, pricing, presentation or brand reputation.
By allowing retailers to obtain an accurate, realistic view of the internet, retailers can, for example, base their prices or business development decisions on accurate pricing data, stopping them from charging unnecessarily inflated prices.
These benefits can then be passed on to the end consumers, as they pay reduced prices for their goods and services. By empowering businesses to easily and quickly gain an accurate view of the internet, Luminati helps to increase competition – allowing consumers to enjoy the benefits different retailers can provide.
3.You are also involved with combating ad fraud, how much of a problem is this?
Ad fraud comes in many different forms, but however you look at it, it is costing the market billions annually. Research by White Ops and the ANA (Association of National Advertisers) put the total cost at $5.8 billion globally this year.
It has never been more essential to ensure online campaigns are free from fraud by verifying affiliating links, validating the correct placement of ads on publisher websites and guaranteeing the absence of malware.
Those who do take part in fraudulent acts know when they are being watched or checked on and feed those monitoring them the wrong information accordingly, in order to mislead them and avoid being caught.
It is for that reason that we enable performance marketers and affiliate marketers a clear view of the internet, enabling them to test and verify their advertising campaigns from the eyes of their target audience.
By using our IP proxy network they can verify their inventory and make sure all of their ad spend is going where it’s supposed to, and isn’t going into the hands of criminals.
4.What is your USP?
What sets us apart from competitors is that Luminati operates the largest, fastest and most ethical IP proxy network in the world.
This network is built from over 40 million unique IP addresses provided by consumers who have willingly and actively selected to opt-in in return of ad-free applications. These consumers can also opt-out at any given time.
By operating the most globally extensive, rapid IP proxy network, we ensure our customers can freely and quickly access any data, at any time, no matter which market, sector or location they would like to access - just like any consumer would do.
In addition, we at Luminati always focus on keeping our ethical code intact.
The open source data collection domain is very close to my heart and I see it as my personal duty to share our knowledge and expertise, especially when it comes to remaining ethical.
It’s for this reason we have a stringent entry criteria that includes a rigorous and compressive KYC (Know Your Customer) process. Every new Luminati customer is thoroughly vetted and must be approved by a compliance officer to ensure their use case meets our strict standards.
Luminati’s in-depth on-boarding process requires clients to share their national ID and sign our compliance statement amongst various other identity verification techniques. If the KYC criteria is not met, then the user cannot become a customer or use our network.
We practice our ethical code from the inside out and are proud to be leading the fight against those wishing to cause harm to what is an incredibly important and growing sector.
We have recently partnered with a number of universities and research institutes with the goal of spreading this commitment to be ethical by design, inspiring trust and web-integrity.
5.How fast is the business growing in terms of customers and territory?
From early on Luminati has always been a global business. We’re very proud of our progress and can say that the company has enjoyed a very high and impressive, double digit percentage growth every year.
A Luminati data collection workshop in full swing
6.Tell us about market conditions for your business?
It’s an exciting time to be in the data collection and IP proxy industry. Never has data been so important and getting a view of this is crucial to so many businesses. With e-commerce growing rapidly, having a neutral view of the internet is incredibly important.
Whether this is for product/price positioning, market research/strategy or working to combat ad fraud, IP proxy networks are changing the way businesses look at the internet to benefit both, businesses and consumers.
I think that in 2020 transparency of data collection will become more of a necessity than ever before. I predict that data identification and collection tools will continue to rapidly increase in popularity.
This will lead to more and more websites attempting to block legitimate and openly available public data collection. As a result, transparent, accurate data will be in even higher demand.
7.IP proxy networks sometimes get a bad press, what’s your response?
Operating a huge and extensive IP proxy network is a powerful tool. With great power comes great responsibility and we see it as our role to set a high industry standard to any business in our domain.
As with any technology there are users who will try to use it for illegitimate means. We make sure this doesn’t happen on our watch with our network. We are committed to the integrity of our domain and that commitment goes far beyond our business conduct.
This is why we take ethics and our code of conduct so seriously, and we share our expertise with other companies, universities and our customers. As a result, hopefully the good will continue to outweigh the bad.
IP proxy networks are extremely popular and we have thousands of customers that operate in every sector. If I could reveal names and use cases, the vast amount of users and the advanced cases would amaze any reader. It’s for that reason that we must win the battle against the misuse of networks.
8.How do you separate your business from the ‘grey market’?
Luminati has an extended compliance team in place and to ensure that we are successful in this, the team uses two methods to verify that our networks are free from abuse. The first is automated within our systems and detects suspicious behaviour, automatically blocking the particular client while notifying the compliance team.
The second is constant manual checks done by the compliance officers themselves. These manual checks include conducting random and direct log checks in order to detect any misuse of our network.
We constantly monitor for misuse and violations, including reselling of the Luminati network, and any user found to be in breach of this will have their account immediately terminated. We have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to misuse of our network.
Our customers are well-aware of this and it’s one of the reasons they choose Luminati as one of their partners. The security of our customers, partners and the security of our network always comes first.
As a business we like to set the tone with the market and lead from the front on ethical issues, and our customers respect this.
For example, we are members of the TAG organisation, which is committed to web-integrity, and we actively participate and lead compliance forums, collaborate with universities and research institutes as well as lead our own KYC forum and support upcoming start-ups. This is core to the DNA of the company.
9.Could you tell us about some of the challenges you encountered as a CEO?
No one likes it when they find out they have been basing their business decisions on the wrong kind of online data. Many times, when I visit our customers, I find that this is the hardest thing for businesses to admit to themselves.
Our job, as their partner, is to make sure they get the data they need, as fast as they need it, in the highest quality possible to make the right kind real-time business decisions that will lead to their business growth.
10. What are your plans for the future?
Web-transparency is something that goes beyond collecting data.
We hope to keep driving forward the understanding that while developing new technologies and innovating is great, ensuring that all users have access to the information they require is our key aim and will always be key to our business.
This is what we focus on as a company – making what is already out there accessible. We will keep doing it and sharing our expertise with the upcoming data collection professionals of the future.
11.What are your golden tips for growing businesses?
While you want to make sure your products or solutions address the right market segment, make sure you address your organisational culture early on, especially when it comes to a data collection business.
This is as important as your business conduct. Whether you’re a small business or rapidly turning into a larger business, your customers want to know they are in good trustworthy hands.