in this episode
Is it possible to solve a problem that you cannot even identify? Chemi Katz, Co-founder and CEO of Namogoo, a TCS COIN™ startup, talks about the discreet nature of hijacking in ecommerce and how the company creates unstoppable customer journeys. In this episode of The Next Big Think!, we uncover the risks that come with digital advertising and explore how Namogoo increases conversion and prevents loss of reputation due to bad customer experiences.
So, why is customer hijacking prevention the next big thing? Chemi feels that with more companies taking the digital route, the need to deliver a great customer experience and have a one up on competition, will drive demand for digital journey continuity platforms.
The digital advertising world includes the websites, advertisers, and the consumers, and at the centre sits Namogoo, ensuring every player gets the most out of ecommerce.
Kevin Benedict: Welcome to the podcast. When I think about today's podcast, it seems to have all the elements of a classic true crime story—hijacking, betrayal, the mysterious loss of hundreds of millions, perhaps even billions of dollars and more, all inside the world of advertising, digital advertising specifically. And today in this podcast, we're gonna pull back the curtains on that. Our guest today is Chemi Katz, CEO and Co-founder of Namagoo. Thanks for joining us, Chemi.
Chemi Katz: Hi Kevin, nice to be here.
Kevin Benedict: Where are you calling in from?
Chemi Katz: So, I'm calling from the Namogoo’s office in Herzeliya, Israel.
Kevin Benedict: Hmm, very good. I'm here in rainy autumn. Where I'm… in Boise, Idaho, it's raining, it’s autumn, is cold today. So, well, thank you, for dialing in and sharing your expertise with all of us today. You know, I have five books here in my library behind me from an author, Paul Virilio. And he was a French cultural theorist, a professor, an urbanist, and aesthetic philosopher. And he is famous for wanting well for many things, but one of his most famous quotes is the following. The invention of the ship was also the invention of the shipwreck. Is digital advertising today a shipwreck? Or is it just a series of unintended consequences that led to some of the challenges we're going to talk about today? And to answer that, we'll do that in just a moment here. But let's start, Chemi, by again welcoming you. And let me just ask you this. How did you come up with a company name Namogoo?
Chemi Katz: So, Namogoo is a Hebrew word for vanish, faded away? And this is basically what we do to at least a showing of hijacking in e commerce website. So, now, you know, also Hebrew.
Kevin Benedict: Ah, there you go. A Hebrew word. Okay. So, talk to us about your career journey. You've been through a lot. You've been through a lot, you have a great deal of experience. But walk us through that career journey that led you to be in the CEO of Namogoo?
Chemi Katz: Sure. So, as you mentioned, you know, I've been around a long time been in security, advertising company, and so on. But before Namogoo, I had another startup called the CBI which basically deals with e-commerce aggregator, Sepai, which basically deals with e-commerce aggregator affiliates, so bringing traffic into e commerce website. And just before I sold my company, some of the hijacking company approached me and basically wanting to also partner with me and inject stuff into my user base. And this is how I knew what is hijacking. We didn't call it hijacking back then, hijack it is basically a term that Namogoo coined. So now we are calling it hijacking, and also other companies call it hijacking as well. And this is basically the way that we started in a mobile so we understand there is a gap, especially in e-commerce website, a problem that usually they don't see because it's all happening on the client side. Sometimes something is installed on the client side and when they browse into an econography or they see all kinds of different ads and different a hijacking method. And this is how we found out the company and this is also why the name of Namogoo that I just mentioned.
Kevin Benedict: That's gonna be fascinating. We're gonna peel back the layers on hijacking and how that happens in just a moment here. But before we do that, Chemi, let me just ask you, what do you like most and least about being in the role of a CEO?
Chemi Katz: And I think being in the role of CEO, and also a co-founder is basically first, you know, to build something from scratch, and see your solution on many e-commerce websites, small and big ones as well. So this is basically a delight to browse into those e-commerce website, and also people around you that browse and you know, that your technology, it's also helping them on the journey in the e-commerce website, something that I list, and like in my SEO role, I basically like every day, it's very hard to find, like, you know, to deal with people, deal with clients, build stuff, investors strategize. It's really a fast, fascinating job. And I'm, you know, every morning, you know, wake up with a smile, so I think everything good.
Kevin Benedict: Well, I've had the opportunity to be a startup CEO in my career as well. And I could say that, in my experience, most days were like that. But there was some days that were just a struggle, because I knew the buck stopped with me. And there was some challenges that were just big. So, but I, I certainly appreciate the adrenaline rush when you get up. And you just have that, that just passion for building something, and delivering a solution that actually helps people. So, talk to me, if you were on it, you know, let's go back and just talk about the classic elevator pitch, you meet somebody new, and you're trying to explain not only your company, but the problem that you solve. Talk to us about that. What would you say to them?
Chemi Katz: So, basically Namogoo empowers brands to deliver unstoppable customer journey by giving each customer what they came up for and getting everything else out of the way. This is basically what Namogoo does in all of our product.
Kevin Benedict: Okay, so and you do that by doing what? What's the problem space?
Chemi Katz: So, there was a few problems. So, one problem is the hijacking. It means that when you browse into an e-commerce, and you have something on your machine, on your device, you can see different banners, that is not coming from the specific e-commerce, you can, they can change the link of the hyperlink, or their affiliate link. They can do all kinds of stuff that interfere with your journey on the website itself, and sometimes even offer competitor ads or competitor products that if you click on it, you'll go to a different site, and then the e commerce website, basically loses you as a client. We also have a different product called intent-based promotion with which is basically give you the exact promotion on the exact time, based on your intent. If you come into buying, if you come in into browsing, it gave you different for example, discount or shipping or other promotion, that is based on your need as a consumer. And by doing that we uplift the conversion rate of the e-commerce and lower down the margin of the ecommerce as well.
Kevin Benedict: You know, I don't think a lot of people recognize how complex this whole world of digital advertising is today. And, you know, I've had the opportunity to be on the periphery and kind of look over the fence and watch how a lot of this is done. And just the technology, the insight, the analytics, the AI, the machine learning, all of this stuff is just incredibly layered and complex. Let me just ask you this. If you're talking to somebody who's interested in understanding this world, this digital marketing and advertising world, how do they even start to learn that? Is it something they can learn at a university or is… is this happening so fast? And so real time that you really have to just jump into the real world and learn from experience? What's your advice?
Chemi Katz: So, I don't know if you know, like a university or someone teaching that. But because of the pace of the change in the digital world, I don't think this is the right way, the right way is, as you mentioned, your second point is basically to start, work on the company that helps or has a marketing department and understand, you know, this kind of digital world. And, also, inside the digital world, there is a lot of different avenues. So, you need to be focused on what really you want to learn, and what you want to work on.
Kevin Benedict: We're now going to take a break. We'll be right back. Stay tuned.
Kevin Benedict: So, for those that are listening today, they're less familiar with this world. Walk us through a journey of a consumer. So, a consumer, let's just say they want to go backpacking, so they're going to search on backpacks, they see a link come up, that has reviews for backpacks, they click on it. What is happening in the background?
Chemi Katz: You mean, in the hijacking world? Yes. So, let's start with before that, let's say you're in your laptop, and, and you want let's say a PDF, okay, PDF reader, but you're, you're not installing from Adobe, or installing from a third-party site that bundle it with different software that doing hijacking, but you don't know, because when you install it, you click Next. Next, Next, you don't read, you know, the… the terms and conditions and all of that, and you get bundled with a different product. Now I browse into, let's say, one of the big e-commerce to buy backpack. And when I get even in the homepage, or category, or even on the product itself. sometimes I see all kinds of bundles. But, also, I see hijacking banner of the same backpack that I'm looking at, or something similar usually, with a lower price. When I click on it, because a sometimes is very much embedded in the website that it looks that it comes from the website itself. So, I click into it. And then it's basically diverse made into a different website, when usually on the website other or I can buy it or it's just a landing page for something else. But the e-commerce itself already loses me as a client because I left the site. Sometimes the user itself, it's very frustrating. Because, you know, they promised something one and I got something else. And… and this is basically a bad journey for everyone.
Kevin Benedict: So, if I'm a company paying for advertising, that's a problem. Because I think I'm paying to create an experience for a customer. But that experience gets hijacked. So, who recognizes the problem and pays to get this solved?
Chemi Katz: So, you mean on the advertising or the mobile solution?
Kevin Benedict: Yeah, I mean, who's being harmed, who's been hurt because of this?
Chemi Katz: So, actually, it's two-fold or even more, so (a) the e-commerce website for sure, because someone stole a client, also the advertiser that the hijacking using this product or advertiser because they think, you know, he will get a really good user, but eventually the majority of them are not good. And, of course, also the consumer.
Kevin Benedict: So how does your solutions at Namogoo solve this?
Chemi Katz: So, the e-commerce website which the hijacking happens on, basically uses our software and install, you know, like a code on the website itself, and we are making sure this hijacking will not happen. So, it's not that it's not happening, but the consumer doesn't see anything. So, he experienced a website exactly like the e-commerce website would like him to experience.
Kevin Benedict: Yeah, that to me, it's like that just destroys the whole intended purpose when somebody does hijack you, and I hate that you're trying to go to a reputable vendor, you're trying to look at products, suddenly you find yourself on a completely different space, looking at products, you have no idea what their return policy is, no idea what their quality is. And you really don't know how you ended up there. Because, it's hard to reverse engineer and go all the way back. So, I can see that. Talk to me, Chemi, about the about the… the cost of the harm that’s being done here. How much are people losing because of this hijacking?
Chemi Katz: They're losing. In a few pillars, (a) money. They're losing money because they're losing customers. So, if we do uplift of 1.5% uplift in conversion, it means actual money. If a company doing $100 million, or $950 million online, you know, if even billion dollar online, imagine what 1.5% is for them. So, it can be from a few millions of dollars, to $200 million a year annually for a few of our clients. So, it's a lot of money. (b) its reputation. Sometimes, because of that, it's bad, bad experience on the website itself. So, they can, you know, do bad review. It's also sometimes they can call the service center and complain they don't find the product. So, a lot of issues with bad experience. Sometimes the injected product is from a previous season. So, it's not really up to date. And then it looks very, very weird on the website, and also the UX. So, all of the e-commerce are planning very carefully, you know, how the UX of the site and now the journey, will look like in some of the hijacking. It looks very bad on the way. And again, it's a bad reputation. So, there was a lot of reason, and what happens on the website when a hijacking is happening. And, but again, the majority of them is actual money.
Kevin Benedict: So, how does the e-commerce website recognize when this is being done to their customers?
Chemi Katz: So, it's very hard to recognize, because again, it's happened on the client side, so they don't have any visibility. How does it look? Sometimes they can see it in the KPI in the business KPI like a bounce rate, conversion rate, the time on site and all of that, but it's very, very hard to say it, companies like Namogoo can basically show how it's happening, including screenshot and in the analytics. And of course, if you use a product, you can see the uplift in the conversion rate and in other metrics as well.
Kevin Benedict: Wow, it seems like you can only see this being done on the consumer side, because they're the ones that have all this information is hijacking happening to him. It's completely running properly from the e-commerce perspective. Is that correct?
Chemi Katz: Yeah, but even sometimes when you see it on from the consumer side, you don't understand that this is something that you see. Because as I mentioned, some of it looks very bad. But some of it looks very good. Or even some of it, it's not visual, it can be under the hood. So, changing in URL, mining Bitcoin, or something like that in your e-commerce while you are browsing and then your computer is very slow. So, all kinds of things that basically happens, some are visual and… and some are not.
Kevin Benedict: So, what role does artificial intelligence and machine learning and all this, play it in your solution?
Chemi Katz: Well, a lot. So, imagine that someone has, I don't know 10 million different active users every month or even 5 million, they are doing a lot of A/B test all the time. So, you and me, when we browse to an e-commerce will not see the same page. So actually, you don't have one truth of the page of how it looked like. So, the AI and ML need to understand every second, what is okay, what is not okay for sure, and what is suspicious, and basically usually send the data back to our system in order for the next session to learn. So, our learning mechanism, basically can change the code, even a thousand times a day because of that, and everything is AI and ML.
Kevin Benedict: Wow, so is this hijacking? Is this acceptable in the industry? Is this a little legitimate marketing technique? Or is this a… is this illegal?
Chemi Katz: So, it's in the grey area. And it's basically they look, or they basically took the, let's say, the grey area of advertising and basically play with it. And… and the reason I'm saying that, because there are some public traded companies are doing that the hijacking, it can be two people in the garage, so everything in between. And there is, all kinds of initiative from Microsoft, Google, Apple, called Safe Browsing. And some of them even the hijacking company participate. So, they like drawing the playground for them, and they know how to play inside of it. So, it's not illegal. It's not legal. It's something in between. And basically, the people that get hurt is the e-commerce website and the consumer, as we mentioned.
Kevin Benedict: Wow. You know, I'm thinking back over the last month here, and I know that there's a really annoying process that's happening on Google from time to time, I will look up, for example, ‘artificial intelligence use in agriculture’. So, I just enter a term in the search engine, it brings up a list of websites and documents, I click on one that's about agriculture. And it takes me out and shows me some new car in… wait a minute, the document I'm asking for is about artificial intelligence in agriculture. And now you're showing me some vehicle advertisement? Would that be hijacking? Or is that just some other name for that technique?
Chemi Katz: It can be hijacking, but it can be also, you know, just a misleading ad or something like that. So, it can be both of them.
Kevin Benedict: Got it. So, if I asked you to put on your future hat, Chemi, and look forward, let's say three years, or more for Namogoo, what's gonna be your biggest challenge over the next three years?
Chemi Katz: And to conquer the market, basically, this is a challenge. But we are on the way. And I don't know if it will happen in three years, but definitely in five years.
Kevin Benedict: Well, good. Well, I can tell you that since we scheduled this podcast to be recorded, I now get Namogoo ads everywhere I go.
Chemi Katz: So, it's meant that our marketing is doing well. Very well.
Kevin Benedict: Yes, so more power to you there. Now this industry -- is the industry or the solution that you have is that in a particular technology category, as defined by the large analyst firms? And if so, what do they call that category?
Chemi Katz: So, it's not in a specific category. It's in digital marketing solution. And but our solution or our suite or platform is basically going more and more on digital personalization. And all of that.
Kevin Benedict: Got it. So, the industry, that category, how do you think it's going to evolve over the next five years?
Chemi Katz: So, I think we saw also in COVID there is a hyper-growth in digital adoption everywhere, especially in the e-commerce, and the industry need more and more tools in order to deal with this kind of growth, and give competition from e-commerce to e-commerce, so I think it will just, it will continue too exactly what we are doing. And just, you know, the pace and the market will be much, much, much bigger.
Kevin Benedict: Thank you for sharing all of your knowledge here and your insights and your predictions and your descriptions and explanations with us today. Chemi, this is fascinating. It must be almost like, how do I even say it? It's almost like a battleground because you make a change, you do something different strategically, and then you're going, then your opponents are going to counter that move with something else it must be a very dynamic space. It's certainly nothing that you can create one solution to sit back and sell the same way over and over. You have to keep changing all the time, don't you?
Chemi Katz: Yeah, definitely. You need to adapt and change because the market is changing all the time.
Kevin Benedict: That's fascinating. Chemi, thank you again for joining us today.
Chemi Katz: Sure. Thank you for having me.