What's Happening in Ad Tech?
Don Marti has some thoughts.
A Quick Plug
Doc Searls and Katherine Druckman talk to Don Marti about ad tech and its many consequences, as well as recent efforts to reform it.
Don Marti, a repeat guest on Reality 2.0, is always at the forefront of the struggle to reign in ad tech, and he shared with us some recent developments and research. We’ll include links to these below, but we encourage you to listen to the full episode to learn more about updates to the IAB’s ads.txt specification. The update allows publishers to declare an “ownerdomain” and a “managerdomain” to clarify the publisher’s relationship with a monetizing platform, and bring some transparency to the advertising supply chain. It looks like a small step toward bringing a little more integrity to the ad tech ecosystem, which could have a side effect of lessening the need for total surveillance.
The specification is currently up for public comment until May 31, 2022, and a final revision will follow.
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Don keeps a running list of interesting links at https://static.zgp.org/linklog/, and we’ve included a few worth checking out below.
This Week’s Reading List
IAB Tech Lab — Today, IAB Tech Lab, the digital advertising technical standards-setting body, announced an update to the widely adopted ads.txt specification which they have opened for public comment for 60 days. The update includes two new values for publishers to declare within their ads.txt files, “ownerdomain” and “managerdomain” which helps increase the transparency into seller relationships via sellers.json and further strengthens ads.txt as a tool to reduce fraud in buying and selling of advertisements on websites, mobile apps and connected TV.
IAB Tech Lab — Real-time Bidding (RTB) is a way of selling media that enables an individual advertising opportunity (ad impression) to be put up for bidding in real-time. OpenRTB is the communication protocol that enables real-time bidding. It was designed to spur growth in RTB marketplaces by providing an open industry standard for communication and interoperability between buyers and sellers in the digital advertising industry.
banning surveillance advertising — New bill in Congress: the Banning Surveillance Advertising Act of 2022. Ambitious goal. May not get far this Congress, but it’s good to have a destination in mind. As Allison Schiff wrote on AdExchanger, Even If Targeted Online Advertising Isn’t Banned – Take Note Of Which Way The Wind Is Blowing. Remember, it took the EPA 23 years to get to the (almost) Final Step in Phaseout of Leaded Gasoline.
taxing surveillance marketing — Putting a tax on surveillance marketing is sometimes suggested as a solution to a classic externalities problem—firms benefit from surveillance marketing, but the costs and risks are paid for by the people surveilled. A Pigovian tax is the go-to fix for this situation.
Europe Is Building a Huge International Facial Recognition System | WIRED UK — Lawmakers advance proposals to let police forces across the EU link their photo databases—which include millions of pictures of people’s faces.
Microtargeting as Information Warfare — F oreign influence operations are an acknowledged threat to national security. Less understood is the data that enables that influence. This article argues that governments must recognize microtargeting—data informed individualized targeted advertising—and the current advertising economy as enabling and profiting from foreign and domestic information warfare being waged on its citizens. The Department of Defense must place greater emphasis on defending servicemembers’ digital privacy as a national security risk. Without the ability to defend this vulnerable attack space, our adversaries will continue to target it for exploitation.
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