What Would You Do?

When I was a kid, a friend’s little brother was abducted by a stranger. A group of us were playing in the park after school and suddenly Keith wasn’t there. Instead, Keith got into the back of a van idling nearby and drove off with a stranger. We ran home and told the grown ups what happened, “Keith got into a car with a stranger and they drove away.” Police were called, a search took place, and fortunately the ending of the story was a happy one for Keith and his parents.

Years later, I’m the grown up and there’s nothing more important to me than my kids. I do as much as I can to make them happy, help them succeed, and most importantly, keep them safe. I can’t imagine hearing a more terrifying sentence than the one we delivered to Keith’s parents. As terrifying as it is to think about my child being abducted, I know I wouldn’t want to rely on milk cartons or phone trees to get them back. I’d want to utilize the most technologically advanced resources possible, send messages to anyone who might have seen them, and find people where they’d have no choice but to look. If you’re a parent, and reading this, imagine how you’d feel and what you’d do.

Thankfully, there is technology that can help in these frightening situations where minutes count, and it’s sitting on most desks, or residing on most persons in America. According to a Kleiner-Perkins study published last year, Americans spend an average of over three hours a day on their smartphones, plus another hour and a half on their personal computers. So if you want to get an important message through to someone, catching them in front of one of these devices is the way to do it.

According to a recent Interactive Advertising Bureau study, advertisers spent $12.4 Billion in the third quarter of 2014 alone. The number keeps growing quarter over quarter, year after year, because digital advertising is an incredibly effective way for brands to reach the right customer, in the right place, at the right time. The billions prove it. FIA is how we can put this same, effective technology to work for as important a cause as I can imagine – our kids.

By partnering with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Internet technology companies use their resources to do what they’re best at – getting important messages out to the right people. The NCMEC provides a picture of the missing child, and information about a vehicle that might be involved in their abduction, and ad technology companies spread the word. This timely messaging increases the chances of finding someone’s child and returning them home to their parents.

The fact that business rivals put healthy competition aside to help reunite parents with missing children demonstrates the difference FIA makes in our communities. Our collective efforts and donations of our technology and ingenuity make the world a better and safer place everyday.


Contributed by Ari Levenfeld, Sr. Director of Privacy and Inventory Quality at Rocket Fuel Inc.