Ad-Tech Firms To Form Open-Source Initiative To Address Transparency Issues

In the coming weeks, a group of ad-tech firms, including AppNexus, Facebook, PubMatic, and Rubicon Project,  will launch an open-source initiative that seeks to address many of the challenges surrounding transparency in programmatic media.

The companies will soon share more details about what open source means and how this type of consortium will function to remove the mystery of  “black box” auctions. In theory, an open-source consortium of ad-tech companies would contribute and regulate code, open up the mechanics of the auction, how exactly someone wins, offer universal standards of implementation, and share information about so-called “bad actors."

Michael Barrett, president and CEO of Rubicon Project, said open source will get to the heart of transparency concerns and the "long and complicated supply chain."

The challenges presented by the lack of transparency in the programmatic media ecosystem have resulted in a decline in spending on the part of brand marketers. “Brands have shut down their spend on programmatic in the last several weeks,” Barrett told Real-Time Daily. “There’s no more business as usual,” which makes it even more urgent that industry stakeholders take action to become more transparent, divulging specific costs associated with programmatic media buys, as well as issues around viewability, measurement, and more.



The company released a white paper in March that endorsed the use of an open source wrapper dubbed “Prebid.js” for header bidding.

Rubicon has joined with other ad-tech firms in promoting the idea open source in programmatic or automated media across the board. “There’s nothing more transparent than open source. We think the time has arrived for open source. If you can take away the doubts about the way this marketplace works, open source is the way to do it,” Barrett said.

The idea is that open source would enable buyers and sellers to understand the mechanics of the open auction and the business of matching buyers to sellers.

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