Among other things, this is a big step in helping to democratize and enhance ethical practices in ad tech, an industry that’s chronically plagued by fraud, errors and complicated and opaque processes. That alone makes the news important.
In joining, the Post becomes a Prebid technology partner, bringing its brand gravitas and engineering resources to accelerate innovation in open-source digital advertising software. More than that, it brings its own proprietary Zeus ad-management and performance platform, which it has made available commercially since 2019, and serves more than 100 publishers.
Zeus has built-in optimizations for viewability and load speed, along with a patent-pending rendering engine. Now its engineering team will begin contributing innovations to the entire publisher community supported by Prebid. Customers will be able to adopt the Zeus open-source technology.
“The Washington Post has long been at the forefront of ad tech innovation, pushing the industry forward by prioritizing speed and viewability in the name of creating a superior user experience for all—readers, brands and publishers,” Post Vice President of Commercial Technology Kodi Foster said. “We’re excited to bring our rich learnings in this space to the Prebid community, helping democratize the conversation about the future of ad tech with the goal of creating a sustainable and ethical business model based on quality journalism.”
The Post rolled out its latest ad-tech product, called Zeus Prime, last fall. It describes Prime as a premium ad-buying network that connects brands and top U.S. publishers in a real-time marketplace. An initial slate of supply- and demand-side partners included the Dallas Morning News and the Ad Council. Going forward, Prime will seek to serve local publishers by expanding into new media markets to more deeply engage local advertisers and publishers.
In some ways, Prebid is similar to the World Wide Web Consortium, also known as W3, founded in 1994 to establish protocols and guidelines that ensure long-term growth of the internet. Closer to home, it’s similar to IDEAlliance, an organization that develops professional standards, specifications, and redefined workflows for the print and packaging production supply chain.
Prebid President Mike Racic said adding the Post as a new member of the organization “further extends our reach across the publisher community and will enable even more publishers to have a voice within Prebid as we continue our mission of enabling a sustainable ad supported digital ecosystem.”