Ultra Spiritual Dolphin Magic

Pilgrimage to Chavin

A couple years ago, I was on a Pilgrimage to Chavin. I met the Dolphin Shamaness, a beautiful spirit. On the first night we met, she told a story from the week before when she went kayaking on the ocean. A pod of dolphins approached her, signaled her to follow, and led her to save the life of a naked woman who was stranded out in the middle of the ocean. Magic.

We had a deep connection through Huachuma and shared a journey across Peru with a beautiful soul tribe led by our Shaman, The Jaguar. The Jaguar’s assistant Shaman, Mars was our local guide.

With our soul tribe, we had a ceremony at Batan Grande where I stood atop the pyramid and watched the Face of God appear as the sun set. We had another at El Brujo, where I could feel the primal energy of life course through me, and the sorrow of feminine pain carried away by the gusting winds.

After a long journey, we arrived at Chavin. We drank Grandfather Medicine and went to the Temple and sat by the river. I sat on a tree stump and noticed life pushing itself through the dead wood. Life would find a way. The water flowed in a beautiful river next to us, and the medicine flowed through our blood.

We walked up to the temple and entered the labyrinth of Chavin. Deep inside the labyrinth, Dolphin Shamaness and I had a spiritual connection that manifested a spirit baby. A baby girl. Pure and perfect. We connected at the Lanzon – full of energy.


That evening, in Mars‘ workshop, as I sat on the floor and listened to Peruvian flute music waft through the air, Chavin’s spirit hovered above my right shoulder. I felt the spirit baby’s presence as she beamed at me with love. I feel sadness. I tell the baby,

“I’m sorry. I don’t think I can bring you into this world, in this lifetime.”

I close my eyes, press my face into my palms and I feel incredible sadness wash over me. Regret. Longing. Love. I feel gentle hands press into my shoulders and receive a tender massage. I know it is Dolphin Shamaness. I feel her love flow through me as she comforts me. I look up and she gently kisses me on the lips.

Axis Mundi – Heaven’s Gate

I carried a light blue stone on the Pilgrimage, and when we arrived at Heaven’s Gate, during a Pachamama Ceremony, I offered the spirit baby totem to Pachamama. The message from the Universe that day was,

“Do not mourn the paths not taken.”

I let go of the expectation of result and returned to the real world. Life continued, and I still don’t fully understand the significance of the Spirit Baby. Chavin.

The Real World

A few days ago, I reconnected with the Dolphin Shamaness. I hadn’t intended to, but the Universe led me back to her. We went paddle boarding on the silky ocean waves and caught a glimpse of a shark.

When Shark circles in as your spirit animal it’s time to shut out fear and go for what you want.

We spent the rest of the day reconnecting, sharing stories since the Pilgrimage. Love and Loss. Adventures and Journeys. It was a leisurely day, overlooking the ocean. She prepared beautiful food. Homemade kimchi. Nourishing salad. We sipped Exotic Dream Jun Elixir and smoked Mapacho. It was a beautiful day. We had deep conversations about Blockchain, decentralization, regenerative farming, and saving the world.

Dolphin Shamaness was so giving and nurturing. She prepared bone marrow topped with herbs on sprouted sourdough. She was meticulous and I could feel her desire to make it perfect for me. I felt so blessed.

During the course of our conversations, one sentence rang out,

“I find myself always putting other people’s happiness ahead of my own needs.”

At the end of the evening, we laid comfortably on the couch and gazed into each other’s eyes. I could see a reflection there. Sadness. Longing. Love.

Ultra Spirituality


“Majestic Dolphin Blue Eyes.”

On Sunday, I took my wife to JP Sears’ talk and book signing at Trilogy Sanctuary. It was hilarious, heartfelt and transformative. He channeled deep messages from the Universe. He talked about how creativity lives in all of us, and how it wants to be free. How uncomfortability is the Universe telling us that there is creativity inside of us attempting to break free. How comfort can be a prison of the mind and how sometimes we are so creative, we can convince ourselves we aren’t creative. How sometimes, we need to find the metaphorical cliff that gives us fear and excitement and jump.

It really struck a chord with me. What is the energy in me that is trying to flow free and is stuck in discomfort?

After the talk, we met JP, got some books signed, and took a photo with him. We went for a walk around beautiful La Jolla, and discussed the talk. I dug deep inside myself and looked for where I was uncomfortable. There was definitely some energy with Miss Rabbit. It was almost a psychosis.

My wife and I had a deep conversation where she got triggered and went through many dark states and ended our marriage. She hit rock bottom. The next morning she came to me and said, “So, what do you want to do?” 

I had recently watched to this video about The Victim Control Dynamic and recognized it. My wife wanted me to rescue her. I was in a highly conscious untriggered state, so I just calmly told her that she could decide whatever she wanted to do. This freed her from powerlessness and victimhood. Suddenly, she decided to be responsible for her actions and healed.

I performed a hands on breathing exercised as she wept and purged the shame of judgement from her sisters. She said they were strong and she was a weakling, and I told her,

“Being a workaholic is not being strong. It’s actually be afraid. You’re strong because you are being vulnerable.”

I have a saying:

“A woman’s worst enemy is her best friend. A man’s worst enemy is himself.”

I keep seeing the same pattern where women in my life feel so judged by their sisters, girlfriends, peers. It is a dark energy.


When I went did the God Molecule ceremony at Casa Sasquatch and stayed in Room 9 with Miss Rabbit, it connected me to her in a feverish Potion #9 style love psychosis.

During ceremony, I remember seeing a LOST style smoke monster in the other world. It was a dark energy that seemed to tell me there would be trials. These were my own demons of expectation, jealousy and control.


Monday morning, I truly let go of expectations from Miss Rabbit. It was an energetic purge, Shawshank Redemption style. I simply surrendered to the smoke monster and it dissipated. Freedom.


The monster inside was released.

I went over to visit Miss Rabbit, and she could feel the difference in energy. We had a deep connection of lifelong friendship. Unconditional love.

Today, she sent me this message,

“Thank you! You really have been a blessing in the best of ways. I honor that good vibration between us. Both good, kind hearted, conscious and warm human beings. A friendship to last a lifetime.”

My wife has healed, my friendship with Miss Rabbit is blossoming, and the future is bright. To infinity and beyond!



The Way of the Shaman

The Long Road
A couple years ago, after a week of Ayahuasca ceremonies, and several Huachuma ceremonies and jungle walks, I returned late one night to my room and received a message from the universe. The Spirit of the Curandero. The Way of the Shaman. The Long Road.


CBD Conference
Last week, an invitation to Texas for a spiritual medicine gathering manifested. I flew and spent two days connecting with the medicine and a beautiful conscious community. The medicine is a CBD oil product formulated by a shamanic wizard chemist and is magic. The conference was full of scientific information and inspiring stories of transformation.

On the first day of the conference, I met Touch Healer from Boulder. She had a gentle beautiful spirit, and we connected immediately. I could feel her energy, a limbic resonance. We went to dinner at an Oaxacan restaurant and when we sat down, she said,

“I know we have a lot to say to each other, but can we just be with each other for a moment.”

We sat down at our table in the crowded restaurant and I gazed into her eyes. My being radiated with energy and the rest of the world melted away. It was a deep soul connection, and I felt clean and beautiful energy flowing through my body. Love. Pure.

Touch Healer began to share one of her personal fears, and slowly processed it. Then she said,

“How about our planet? What do you think?”

I just smiled at her and said,

“We’re going to be ok.”

I knew this in my soul from my journey in Arrowhead. The collective consciousness of humanity has figured out how to solve the world’s problems, and we are now manifesting the solutions. I nodded gently at her as tears streamed down her face. We then enjoyed a beautiful meal of various types of seafood with different mole sauces.

Touch Healer and I had a profound energetic connection. There was a point during the conference, she asked, “May I?” I nodded, and she put her arm around me. I felt a charge of energy… of love… emanating through our connection. It was deep and powerful and I laid my head on her shoulder, as the world outside melted away.


The next day, I continued connecting with amazing people. I met a beautiful alien with green hair ornamented with feathers, with a Belgian Shephard dog and a Nepalese singing bowl.

“Would you like to walk my dog with me?”

We walked out to a nearby park, and laid on the grass, grounding after spending most of the day indoors. We talked about other dimensions and soaked in the blue sky, as the music from an ice cream truck provided a surreal soundtrack.

She invited me to an 11:11 ceremony with a hand drawn invitation card. At this point, another friend, Rowdy showed up and hung out with us for a while. A homeless man approaches us and asks for a birthday gift. We give him some cash and change, then sing happy birthday before heading back to the hotel for dinner.

The conference was amazing. I felt energized.

NASAPhoto Jun 11, 2 24 03 PM

The following day, I went to the NASA Space Center. I was inspired by what humanity can achieve when we work together. Amazing. During the tour, I saw the words:


Photo Jun 17, 11 19 42 PM

A Prophecy.
We’re really going to be ok…

Grey Jedi Bee Medicine


After getting back to California, I headed up one day to spend time with friends. As I was driving up, Ahsoka, the Grey Jedi sent me this image and told me that she could feel me looking at her through this image.

I had sushi with the Alaskan Ninja, then coffee with a couple of spirit sisters, and went to Ahsoka’s place to catch up. We smoked a bowl, and she told me she had another friend coming over. She said she was afraid he’d be overly affectionate and it bothered her and made her uncomfortable.

Anti-Chris arrives and we head to the clubhouse. We swim in the pool and sit in the hot tub. Anti-Chris got affectionate with Ahsoka, and he got touchy and kissy. Ahsoka alternated between being uncomfortable and enjoying the attention. It triggered feelings of creepiness in me.

As I am sitting in the hot tub with Ahsoka, Anti-Chris hovers around and tells his story,

“All nine of my ex-girlfriends have been bipolar and ADHD.”

As he spoke of his life and his struggles, I could feel his darkness and shadow. I didn’t judge, just witnessed. Suddenly, a couple of bees showed up, and startled him. He had an experience as a child where he was stung by thousands of bees and almost died, so was understandably terrified.


The bees began to orbit my head. They felt like electrons zipping around the nucleus of my brain. Bee Medicine entered my life in a strong way when I got stung by a solitary queen bee which somehow left a stinger in my left ring knuckle (solitary bees don’t leave their stingers, it must of torn off when I reacted and flicked it off of my stung knuckle) while I was hiking with my wife on LSD in Big Bear.

Trust in Miracles. Manifest Abundance. One of the bees ending up getting trapped behind me in a puddle of water as I sat in the hot tub. It was struggling and I blew it with a gust into the dry sunny concrete. Ahsoka looks at the bee with concern. Anti-Chris comes over and looks at it. I say,

“It’ll be ok. She’ll dry off and fly on her own.”

A few minutes later, the bee flew off.

Holding Space

We went inside. Later in the evening, I have Ahsoka some CBD Oil, then I put my arm around Ahsoka and channeled love in the same way that Touch Healer had showed me. Ahsoka started channeling spirit guides and her body began to move. She was delivering messages from the Universe.

“Mother Gaia wants me to tell you. Cannabis is medicine. The THC is the male part of the medicine… CBD is the female. CBD… will save the world.”

We were connecting psychically. She and I both understood that Anti-Chris was a fractal pattern that she was attracting to her based on some energy she had inside. I saw a reflection of myself in him. When he wanted to hug and kiss her, it was his channeling of love. He couldn’t help himself.

A few other friends came over to her condo and I told Ahsoka I was going to head home, and she grabbed my arm.

“Please stay. You’re the only one here I can really trust.”

She looks over at Anti-Chris as her hands make frantic hand signs and her eyes widen with fear and tells me,

“I should be looking for Luke, but I keep finding Anakins.”

She continued channeling and received messages from the television,

“Beware the Demon Samurai.”
“69 – Yin & Yang”

She lays down on her love mat – a futon like cushion that hovers inches off the floor and I lay down next to her holding space for her. My right hand hover over her body, and I continue to channel love and prana. She guides my hand and presses it on various parts of her body, and shares stories from her past. Stories of hurt and pain from men in her life, especially her ex, Steve. I can feel her releasing trauma. It is energetically intense, and I focus on hold pure, energetically clean space.

On the television, a news story comes on about Steve McNair and his murder. Her eyes go wide. “Steve…”

“And then she put a gun to her head.”

Ahsoka loses it and starts bawling. I continue to hold space and she continues telling stories. Finally she sits up and tells a story of her deepest shame…

“I felt like I was taken advantage of. It felt… alien

and then when we went camping, ___ saw us making out, and all the women found out.

The shame…”

I have my left hand on her back, and my right hand on her back as she energetically purged, trembling and releasing the shame… then weeping deeply. After several minutes, she calmed down, and relaxed.

“Where’s Anti-Chris? I can feel his jealousy… Anakins… I keep drawing them.”

By now it was nearly 3am, and I needed to drive home. The Way of the Shaman. The Long Road. I cannot deny it.

Spaceship Earth

“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that startle you. And I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.” – Benjamin Button

Three years ago, I was in Bali, and had my first experience with psychedelics. I ate two bags of psilocybin mushrooms on the beach in Nusa Dua and my heart opened. That night, I took a bubble bath that unveiled the layers of the universe to the windows of my perception. I telepathically communicated with a gecko.

“Gecko! Speak to me!”

“You suck at speaking to animals. You need to go do Ayahuasca.”


Two years ago, I went to Peru to find myself. I partook in a series of Ayahuasca ceremonies to find inspiration for the next chapter of my life. I already had a successful 23-year career in video games, my childhood dream job, and it was time for a change.

Mother Ayahuasca gave me a clear message,

“Open your wife’s heart. Mother Earth misses her.”

I asked Mother Ayahuasca many questions. Invariably, the answer would simply be, “Love.” So obvious. So simple. So profound. Yet, so hard to practice.

I traveled all over the world, into other dimensions, explored other perspectives, deepened my perception, and healed. I experimented with every modality of raising consciousness I could find and devoured them all. I communed with the spirits of Ayahuasca, Huachuma, Bobinsana, Vilca, Singado, and Psilocybin. I experimented with synthetics, MDMA and LSD, which didn’t resonate as much for me, though they were positive experiences. I conducted my own personal mapacho and cannabis ceremonies – on my own, and with loved ones. I kept seeking. Learning.

I also dove into the deep end of yoga and meditation, doing a yoga teacher training in Costa Rica, and practicing various forms of meditation and pranayama. I explored the world of personal development with PSI Seminars and the Kwik Learning Conference.

Finally, this year, I met God. I became one with the universe twice this year. 5MEO-DMT. The God Molecule. The most profound experience imaginable.

My intentions:

Surrender. Unconditional Love. Love and Abundance.

This energy has been seared into my soul. I have a constant connection to Source now. I wake up flowing with prana, filled with love, and my presence in the NOW is stronger than ever in my life.

Abundance is flowing. I am surrounded by love. So much love. Community.

Last week, my oldest daughter experienced her first true heartbreak. Her high school sweetheart broke up with her. She is so sad. Crying and asking herself why. For the first few days, she just wanted to be left alone to cry in her room, so we let her.

Last night, I was watching Silicon Valley in my office, and she came in.

I comforted her.

“There is no why. He is an 18 year old boy, about to move to New York by himself. You both are too young.

It’s ok to feel sad. Feel it as deeply as you can. This is life. This is love.

You will love again. Don’t let this make you be afraid to love.”

She cried. I continued to comfort her, placing my hand gently on her shoulder and rubbed her back.

“Mom and I love you, and we’ll always be here for you. Mom has healed. I had to go heal myself, so that she could heal herself too. Our family is healed. Be happy for that.

We are so proud of you.”

She shakes her head.

“We are so proud. We love you so much.”

She continues to cry. I can feel her doubt and feelings of low self-worth. I pour love into her and let her release her energy. Surrender. She asks if she can just lay in my office as I finish my show, and I let her rest.

That night, I have a profound realization.

My divine purpose: To heal myself so that I can hold the space for those around me to heal. The universe led me to heal myself by giving me an assignment to heal my wife. Divine purpose coursed through my being, like an electrical current of love.

As my shaman whispered in my ear two years ago during a Huachuma ceremony deep in the jungle, right before I snorted liquid fire (Singado) up my nostrils.

“Remember. It’s about unconditional, universal Love.

Surrender. You’re so good at it.”

Love. So obvious. So simple. So profound. So easy… If we let everything go. Surrender.

When that seems hard, I remember the words of the wise man, Joe Rogan:

“If you ever start taking things too seriously, just remember that we are talking monkeys on an organic spaceship flying through the universe.”


Life is fucking amazing.


Life is a series of windows.

As we surf through this universe, we cannot fully bend reality to our will, but we can surf to different dimensions. Every once in a while, a sliding window opens. There is a brief moment of time, when we can feel a sense that a portal has opened to another dimension… A place of magic and possibility. It can be triggered by meeting a new exciting person… A mystical experience… A transcendent idea.

When this happens, so often, we get scared. It’s the unknown… We need to surrender to it. “What if…”, “How?”, “But.”, “I can’t…” Resistance appears. Sometimes we don’t leap through the window. That’s ok. It wasn’t meant to be. We can enjoy the echo of possibilities from that dimension in our dreams and imagination.

“What a beautiful, beautiful thing to be able to dream when you’re not asleep.”

The more we dream, the better we get at it.

“On the periphery, just outside. There’s always a window. But people are frightened to look through it. It’s safer in the prison cell.”

Someday, a window to magic will open and it will be time to leap.

You are what you LOVE.

“You are what you love, not what loves you.”

Since my first visit to the jungle, two years ago, much has happened. I was given a mission from Mother Ayahuasca.

“Open your wife’s heart. Mother Earth misses her.”

What? No, I mean, for work, what should I be doing?

“Open your wife’s heart.”


I came back from Peru and was excited. The solution was obvious:

“Honey, I think you should go to the jungle and drink this potion. It’s healed me!”

Uh, the Universe wasn’t letting me off that easy. I had work to do. Over the next two years, I went on a journey around the world, across the universe, seeking. I had to conquer my demons… dark ones… twisted around my soul, buried inside my ego.

My travels brought me in contact with beautiful souls that I connected with, and with the intensity of some of the experiences, I found myself falling in love with beautiful women that crossed my path. Unicorns.

There was the Dolphin Shamaness who I met on a Pilgrimage in Peru. We drank Grandfather Medicine together, birthed universes, and had a spirit baby in the labyrinth of Chavin.

A year later, I met beautiful Tattoo Song on a California Ranch. We were doing transformative work together, and during a meditation, I felt her soul connect to mine. She started crying, and we went for a walk. She told me:

“Two weeks ago, my fiancee found me on the bathroom floor. I had swallowed 200 pills. The doctor said there was no way I should be alive. Now I know why God sent me back… it was so I could come to this Ranch and meet you.”

I felt overwhelming love… We shared some tender moments, we shared a dance. Then, after returning to reality, she ghosted me. I still loved her for a year, despite that we only had a momentary glimpse of a future dimension… an infinite second in the journey of life, a window that closed as soon as it opened. I realized, she was a teacher… to teach me unconditional love.

Unconditional means surrender. It means letting go completely of any expectation and result.


A few weeks ago, I had a calling to meet Miss Rabbit. We met over sushi, and the connection was instant. I felt drawn to Miss Rabbit, and came home and told my wife we could let the marriage go. We had worked hard at it, and we knew we loved each other. After all these years, I let go. I let go of expectations. I was okay if we were never intimate again. I let go of any guilt and shame of failing at marriage. I let go of fears of what would happen to my wife if I left her. I trusted in her to be strong enough.

That night, I released all that energy. Expectations are a heavy burden to carry. I wept, and my wife reached over and held me. The next day, she called while I was on the road for business.

“I was listening to the universe this morning, and it said that we can choose to love. I choose to love you.”

After years, my wife’s heart cracked open. Not fully, but she was feeling again.

A few days later, with my wife’s blessing, I had my trip with Miss Rabbit, and felt the love growing and culminating in maybe the most loving experience of my life.

Today, Miss Rabbit pretty much told me, “Mate. Not happening, dude.”

Everyone falls in love with Miss Rabbit. That’s her magic. We don’t get to choose who we love.

Maybe we don’t get to choose who, but we can choose to love.

I told her, “That’s ok. I’m still going to love you.”

A couple months ago, during a trip to Catalina Island, the Alaskan Ninja mentioned this scene from the movie Adaptation to me.

That’s true love. No one can take it away from you.


(Two Years Ago)

A group of twelve of us had spent the day in the jungle, heightened by Grandfather Medicine, exploring the energies of the Amazon. We were Higher Primates exploring the energetic fields of nature. We returned to Sanctuary and one of the monkeys was behaving like a Dark Monkey… Lusting for power, beating his chest, and generally pissing us other monkeys off.

We gathered in a circle around the Mesada. I began at the head of the cross shaped table, and we slowly circled around, with the Dark Monkey directly across from me, emanating lust for power. I saw the rest of the group turning their backs to him, and I just faced him and looked at him. As the energetics of the mesa shifted based on position, I felt the power ebb and flow. When I reached the highest male dominant energy point, a moth began to flutter around me… I raised and lowered the my internal prana energy and noticed as I raised it, the moth would flutter towards the candle flame in front of me, and as I lowered the moth would fly away out of sight.

I heard a message from the Grandfather Medicine:

“Strength over power.”

I began to control the energy with my breath, lowering the energy to a low rumble in my belly, and suddenly, the moth flew up the left sleeve of my t-shirt, and crawled across my chest, centered on my heart. We continued back around the table, and I took a seat in my rocking chair, and the moth crawled out my right sleeve, up my arm, onto my finger, and perched itself there, looking at me.

The shaman rang a chime, and the moth fluttered away.

The shaman beckons me to the mesa, and offers me Singado, which I snort up my nostrils, igniting my sinuses with liquid fire. My eyes water. As I put my fingers back on the table, he whispered in my ear:

“Just surrender, you’re so good at it…
…and remember, it’s about universal, unconditional love.”

I stared at the stone Lanzon, and saw flames emitting from the crown of the stone statue, and felt my entire body radiate universal love. I looked ahead at the tapestry that formed a three dimensional face that was part reflection, part dream, and part God. I felt myself being pulled upward toward the ceiling of the Maloka. I was surrendering and it felt intense for a few moments as if I was lifting off the ground, then the sensation faded.


A few nights ago, I experienced full surrender (and even recalled it this time)… I was at a Sasquatch house, and experienced a ceremony that took me to another dimension.

I set my intention:

“Love and Abundance for my family and soul tribe. Surrender to my life’s purpose. Transmute my self doubt.”

I experienced the bliss of ultimate complete surrender and connected to the collective consciousness of humanity, where I knew that our collective could solve humanity’s problems. We are going to be okay. I received an assignment which was downloaded into my subconscious mind.

“You know what the project is.”

I realized at that moment that it has all been worth it. Miss Rabbit, who was along on the journey with me entered my consciousness and our souls connected profoundly and I was overwhelmed with joy and love. It radiated out of my soul.

On the drive back from Sasquatch Lake, Miss Rabbit and I zoomed along the beautiful mountain road, under beautiful skies, and the following song came on… Life was perfect at that moment.

Unbreaking the Internet

For the past few years, I’ve been thinking about the Internet as reflection of humanity and the collective consciousness. It has become ubiquitous, and in some ways, it has a life of its own; algorithms that symbiotically evolve with our collective browsing and clicking habits.

Quick and Dirty Market Survey

eMarketer has great public charts and data, and I did some quick research.

  • US paid media ad spending will grow steadily in 2017 to $206 billion.
  • US digital ad spending will grow from $73 billion in 2016 to $83 billion in 2017 with a growth forecast to $129.23 billion in 2021.
  • Digital ad spending is growing in market share and mobile the main driver of growth.


  • Native display ads are expected to account for more than half of all US digital display media ad spending in 2017.
  • Advertisers will spend $22.09 billion on native display ads in 2017 alone.
  • Social advertising (Facebook, Twitter, Snap, etc.) will account for 84.2% of total US native display ad dollars in 2017. However, this share is slowly declining, as non-social applications introduce native advertising.
  • Google and Facebook dominate US mobile ads, capturing 54% in 2016, and a projected 57% market share in 2017.


  • Globally, Google and Facebook are projected to capture $72.69 billion and $33.76 billion, respectively, bringing the two ad techs’ share of the digital ad market to 46.4% worldwide in 2017.
  • Snapchat is poised for “explosive growth”, projected by eMarketer to grow 157.8% to $770 million in the US in 2017.



The Lumascape

To get an idea of what the digital ad ecosystem looks like, here are two sample LUMAscapes



This LinkedIn post by Mike Goldberg does a great job covering the basics of the different components in the programmatic ecosystem.


The digital ad ecosystem is complex, with lots of different different companies, often serving multiple roles in the ecosystem, making things complex and often opaque.

  • Advertiser/Marketer – has a product to sell. May work with agencies for media planning, buying, and possibly creative.
  • Ad Networks – online ad service provider with various sources of inventory. (such as Google, Yahoo.)
  • Ad Servers – deliver digital ads to websites/apps.
  • Trading Desks – trading service that utilizes real-time-bidding (RTB), enhanced with data.
  • DSPs – Demand-Side Platforms – Tools to purchase millions of targeted ad impressions.
  • DMPs – Data Management Platforms –  Tools to manage and analyze vast amounts of data generated by the ecosystem.
  • Ad Exchanges – online auction marketplaces for buying and selling of inventory across multiple ad networks.
  • SSPs – Supply-Side Platforms – Tools to maximize ad revenues selling inventory on ad exchanges and ad networks.
  • Publishers – Owners of inventory. (Large media companies, blogs, apps, etc.)

Eric Picard put together a great chart that shows the Advertising Ecosystem Impression/Dollar Flow in an older 2012 article.ecosystem-flow

The Fraud Elephant


Now that we have a sense of the complex ecosystem, it’s time to discuss the elephant in the room. The digital advertising ecosystem is infested with fraud. Dr. Augustine Fou’s presentation summarizes the problem well.

From this Harvard Business Review article, Dr. Augustine Fou states:

“It’s very difficult to get anyone to pay attention to this problem. Everyone has something to gain from the fake traffic.”

This is such a well known problem, it makes an appearance in HBO’s Silicon Valley.

There was an October 2015 Distil Networks report that estimated ad fraud to cost the industry about $18.5 billion annually, and that for every $3 spent in digital advertising, $1 is going to ad fraud.

According to WhiteOps, an anti-ad fraud security firm: In late 2016, a group of Russian hackers created a botnet called “Methbot” that siphons $3 million to $5 million in fraudulent revenue per day. Now, Dr. Fou is a ad fraud consultant, and both Distil and WhiteOps are anti-ad fraud security firms, so it is in their interest to estimate high levels of ad fraud.

Regardless, the ecosystem is broken and the problem is real.

Pirate and porn sites infested with malware are ready to capture your computer and turn it into a slave on a massive botnet that is the then used to click fraudulent ads some of which are also served on those same sites along with other fake sites. These fraudulent clicks feed into programmatic real-time bidding ad exchanges, trading desks, DSPs, and SSPs. The botnets are so powerful that they are slowly driving third world country click farms out of business by committing fraud more efficiently and effectively than those armies of slave wage workers.

Meanwhile the DMPs are dedicating massive brainpower and resources to sell services to fight the fraud and also optimize links to maximize click-through and revenue. There are companies such as Taboola, Outbrain, Revcontent, and Zergnet serving viral ads all over the web. There’s a simple reason.

Depending on the size of the outlet and the amount of traffic they can generate, a contract with Outbrain or Taboola—the two largest providers of such links—can mean millions of dollars in guaranteed annual income. And if your print advertising is declining 30% in a single quarter, that sounds great.

A Closer Look


I decided to take a look at some Outbrain ads.

Outbrain served me the following Sponsored Content as I was browsing Business Insider while researching this post, shown on the right. The content has clearly been tuned to appeal to our human psychology by showing us attractive women and curiosity inducing link titles. Clickbait.

  1. Truthfinder – This led to a fake “The Beacon” magazine article with the title: I Typed in My Name and the Results Had Me Speechless. The website itself is a public records search business, and as I looked around for reviews, I found this review site with 143 reviews – two positive and 141 negative, with many complaints of fraudulent credit card charges and selling of their email address to spammers.
  2. The Modern Man Today – This led to another fake article titled The Skin Tightener Every Man Should Know About, telling a story of discovering this miracle product, and web design that implies magazine coverage from GQ, Variety, subtly implying that Matt Damon and Robert Downey Jr. use the product. In reality, almost every single link, from the menus to the magazine covers leads to a landing page for a product called LifeCell. There are what appears to be fake Facebook reviews (some of the users seem fake, and others … were they hacked?) and are even disclaimers at the bottom of the page that essentially confess to the page being an advertisement and fake article and the “celebrity endorsements” are justified because the celebrities attended an event where they accepted a goodie bag with the product.
  3. Business Insider – This was interesting. Business Insider bought an ad that was served through Outbrain on their own page? Curious. The article is a glowing review of an $89 sweatshirt made by American Giant with the title This hoodie is so insanely popular you have to wait months to get it. At the end of the article there is also a link to another article titled We tested what might be one of the best hoodies out there. Hey, I love hoodies too, so sure why not… At the top of their article:The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you’ll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships so we may get a share of the revenue from your purchase.Ok, I don’t have too much of a problem with this – they like hoodies, I like hoodies, if I buy a hoodie, and they get an affiliate referral fee, sure.So, what’s up with the American Giant article? Where’s the affiliate fee? I dig a little further, and find that this Business Insider article is actually part of a marketing campaign done by Launch Squad. It was a placed article to promote the brand, with traffic spread by Outbrain onto sites such as Business Insider to generate “Thought Leadership.”

We partnered with American Giant prior to their launch in February 2012. We set out to develop a cult following of the brand through creative campaigns and social marketing. In December, 2012, American Giant was cited as creating the “best hoodie in the world” by Slate, which led to unchartered success for the young company.

We focused on the value of American manufacturing from the CEO’s perspective, and placed contributed articles in Forbes, Fast Company, Business Insider, and others.

These three case studies in current day digital marketing give a pretty good survey of a few different types of digital advertising. Fraudulent? Maybe, they aren’t technically “illegal fraud”, but the practices definitely feel deceptive and purely profit driven.

Much of the ad tech industry finds themselves in a parasitic relationship with ad fraud, either making a living fighting it, or accepting the “necessary evil” of having fraudulent inventory trading across their platforms as they profit off of it. It reflects a kind of desperation, scraping the monetization scraps left behind by the bigger players in the industry.

The Two Giants

The reality is, the digital ad fraud issue, on some level, doesn’t matter. It’s just noise. It will always be there, but the bottom line is that the digital ad market is currently dominated by a two giants.


The two giants consume over $100 billion and 46.4% of the market, and they are ravenously chomping away at market share.

Based on the IAB’s numbers and public financial numbers from Google and Facebook, the two digital giants accounted for about 99% of the $2.9 billion in advertising growth in the third quarter—with Google making up about 54% of the total and Facebook about 45%, leaving just 1% for everyone else.

The Cool Kids

A few weeks ago, I was talking to my 13 year old daughter and asking her about her generation’s mobile online behavior.


What apps do you use?

“Mostly Snapchat and Instagram.”

How about Facebook?

“Sometimes we just use it to login to apps. Besides that, we don’t really use it.”

Do you mostly watch Youtube or do you use Vimeo too?

“Vimeo? Eww.”

Why Eww?

“I dunno, we just like Youtube. They force us to use Vimeo at school sometimes.”

What websites do you visit?

“Websites? I don’t visit websites. We get our news from Snapchat. It could all be fake, and we wouldn’t know.”

Gary Vaynerchuk has a good writeup, The Snap Generation: A guide to Snapchat’s history. The Snap Generation (beyond Millennials?) has been raised not just on the Internet, but on smartphones as well. Many of them have spent their conscious lives constantly connected online to their friends.

The Snap Generation values their privacy and consumes social media like little digital snacks, creating a real-time mental multidimensional map of their social and virtual connections instantly in their heads. They are accustomed to instant gratification from Google, Wikipedia, music streaming, and Amazon Prime. They learn how do do anything from Youtube. They play video games, and like to watch others play video games on streaming channels and Youtube. They leave an ephemeral digital exhaust trail that is characteristically different from the previous generations. It’ll be interesting to see how this generation evolves as the reach adulthood.

Break the Internet


So, is the Internet broken? Not really, it is just a reflection of human behaviors with machine learning algorithms optimized to maximize monetization of ad traffic on the Internet. The links that work are links that our human collective are responsive to, and computers are really good at figuring it out. Every time Kim Kardasian releases a naked selfie, it spreads all over the Internet, because we are addicted to controversy, and her ego is addicted to attention. A woman with almost 100 million followers on Instagram needed to do an attention seeking photo shoot because she needed it to feel empowered and confident? What an interesting reflection of the human ego.


Data scientists and machine learning algorithms are extremely powerful at figuring out what makes us click. This is not good or evil – it is a tool that can be used to subconsciously change our behavior. It turns out that as humans, we all have an inherent need to connect and share stories. Technology has evolved in order to enhance this ability, just at a scale that we could have never imagined.

Mind Control


Elon Musk considers artificial intelligence the greatest existential threat to humanity.

“With artificial intelligence, we are summoning the demon. You know all those stories where there’s the guy with the pentagram and the holy water and … he’s sure he can control the demon. It doesn’t work out.”

A.I. is already here, and is subtly modifying the collective psyche of our species, tailoring our experiences online through the forces of ad monetization, psychographics, and digital exhaust trail analysis applied to a human connection, validation, and impact loop. The human race is a race of storytellers, and on a meta level, the Internet is simply an accelerated real-time digital micro-story exchange.

Cambridge Analytica, a data science firm is in the news these days for getting paid millions of dollars by President Trump’s campaign to use psychographics micro-targeting to affect the behavior of voters. Psychographics use the Big Five Model, also known as the OCEAN Model, to psychologically profile people in order to target them better.

  • Openness to experience describes a dimension of personality that distinguishes imaginative, creative people from down-to-earth, conventional people.
  • Conscientiousness concerns the way in which we control, regulate, and direct our impulses.
  • Extraversion is marked by pronounced engagement with the external world, versus being comfortable with your own company.
  • Agreeableness reflects individual differences in concern with cooperation and social harmony.
  • Neuroticism refers to the tendency to experience negative emotions.

Michal Konsinski is a psychologist and data scientist that developed a method to assess a person’s OCEAN personality profile based on their Facebook likes. You can try it here.




Cambridge Analytica is using these (and other) personality profiles to create micro-targeted messages for marketing campaigns.

At Cambridge Analytica we understand that every customer, every cause, and every campaign is unique. That’s why we help you connect with every member of your audience on an individual level in ways that engage, inform and drive them to action.

We bring together 25 years’ experience in behavioral change, pioneering data science, and cutting-edge technology to offer unparalleled audience insight and engagement services and products.

Their CEO, Alexander Nix is seen here describing the process pretty clearly.

Cambridge Analytica is reportedly ramping up its U.S. government business. The U.S. government is hiring a “psychographic, behavioral modification” firm to help with its messaging. Our dystopian future has fully arrived.

In all seriousness, the reality is that computers and the Internet are a modern miracle. The digital age is catapulting humanity forward at an unimaginable rate. We have more access to learning, products, travel, experiences, everything than ever before. In all of the chaos, there is incredible opportunity.

Digital ads have been the fuel of the Internet since the dotcom boom, and aren’t going away anywhere soon. The experience of digital ads is improving, and opportunities to participate in the evolution of human communication and consciousness are more accessible than ever.

What’s next?