IAB Ad Tech Council Names Co-Chairs From Google and Rubicon

Originally founded to serve the needs of online publishers, the Interactive Advertising Bureau is embracing the evolution of the complex online ad ecosystem with the recent launch of its Advertising Technology Council. The trade group has named execs from Google and Rubicon Project, an ad tech firm serving online publishers, as co-chairs for the council’s board.

The council – more than just another working group or committee, insist members – could be considered a hub for technical standards development within the IAB.

“There was kind of a recognition that more and more specifications started to come out from the IAB,” said Jonathan Bellack, Google’s product management director, Publisher Ad Platforms, and newly-named tech council co-chair. “There is an opportunity to do more in this area…and the way to do this is to found a new [council]” specifically focused on ad technology, he added.

Jay Sears, SVP, demand at the Rubicon Project, joins Bellack as co-chair of the council, formed in February.

Bellack likened the council and its mission of fostering growth for the online ad industry to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the group formed to develop standards for growth of the Internet. Though Sears and Bellack would not discuss the issue with ClickZ, the W3C is currently meeting to devise detailed standards for an industry-pervasive do-not-track mechanism, which could have a significant impact on online ad technologies and how they operate in terms of data collection and usage.

The young group’s board met yesterday to agree on key issues it aims to raise to the broader council when it meets August 16. Those important points of discussion will most likely include operating across multiple devices, simplifying business processes, and measurement standardization, said Bellack.

“We’re chomping at the bit to dig into that,” Bellack added, alluding to standards for measuring ad viewability and online GRPs.

The tech council board of advisors includes execs from ad networks, publishers, exchanges, and data firms including Facebook, Microsoft Advertising, AOL, Yahoo, Collective, AT&T AdWorks, MediaMath, Pubmatic, DataXu, and Turn.

Although some in the online publisher sector – which the IAB was created to support – have lamented the impact of ad networks, exchanges, and other third parties on publishers’ ability to generate sustainable ad revenue – Sears and Bellack dismissed the idea that ad tech third parties have depressed the value of online ads. They also stressed the tech council is not at odds with the original intent of the organization.

“Having the ad technology board is something that we can more clearly lay out the value that ad technology companies provide,” said Sears.

To facilitate the efforts associated with the new council, the IAB is charging board member firms an additional fee on top of the associate member fee they already pay to be part of the IAB. General members – primarily online publishers – with a significant focus on ad tech don’t have to pay an additional fee to join the board. Participation in the wider council is free to all IAB members.

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