Firms Working on Standards for Real-Time Bidding

A group of ad technology companies that enable the purchase of display media through real-time bidding (RTB) platforms have formed an alliance to create industry standards around the practice, as they try to further drive its adoption.

The group, called OpenRTB, will see demand-side platforms DataXu, MediaMath, and Turn collaborate with supply-side platforms AdMeld, PubMatic, and the Rubicon Project to agree on a set of standards governing how information is transferred between different players in the ecosystem.

“At the moment there are a lot of tech problems [companies in the RTB space] are solving individually. The goal of this is to solve them as a community, and to make all of our businesses more efficient,” said Bill Simmons, chief technology officer for DataXu.

Essentially the group aims to streamline the implementation of campaigns conducted through RTB platforms by adopting common standards around certain business practices. For example, its first efforts will be to establish a common standard for the exchange and implementation of advertiser block lists, which allow advertisers to block their ads from running on certain publisher sites.

Digesting that information is a time-intensive, largely manual process, Simmons suggested, with each data provider, DSP, and supply-side platform handling and formatting in a different way. “It’s critical we have standardization… For every new advertiser we have to coordinate in a manual way with block lists, which makes it difficult to add new ones,” Simmons said.

A central server to handle the synchronization of these block lists should be live by January, thanks to an investment of resources from the six founding companies in the consortium. From there the group hopes to look at issues like creative tagging – through which publishers can exercise control over the types of advertiser content that appears on their site – and other issues such as establishing common methods for the inclusion of tracking tags within ads.

According to Simmons the coalition has already received interest from other potential partners in the industry, and he expects to announce their involvement shortly. “The more people we have involved the more successful it will be,” he said.

Eventually, he added, the OpenRTB coalition also intends to establish unified standards around managing video and mobile campaigns further down the line.

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