RTB Standard Pushes Ahead — Without Google


The OpenRTB consortium is a who’s who of the emerging real-time bidding landscape with a notable exception: Google. The Interactive Advertising Bureau said late yesterday it would take over the work of the group in developing a common protocol for open real-time bidding.

The end goal, after the tech details are hashed out, is to bring needed efficiency to the ad-bidding world — and allow the many small players to compete without having one standard imposed from above. That one standard from above, of course, would be via Google. The digital ad system is developing into two camps: Google and everyone else. Google is working to build an end-to-end system, one that is often painted by competitors as “closed.” (Think Apple’s approach with iOS.) Others, including the proposed Microsoft-Yahoo-AOL alliance, are banking on an open approach.

The IAB’s head, Randall Rothenberg, announced the support for the standard yesterday at an OpenRTB Town Hall. (I moderated the discussion.) Participants in the meeting wasted little time criticizing Google for holding back support for the standard. Google group product manager Scott Spencer asserted Google does favor open standards, only it wants the best protocol used. He also noted the meeting was the first time Google was invited.

The skirmishes are part of a bigger game of positioning how the emerging ad-tech landscape will shake out. Another interesting non-supporter of the standard: AppNexus, which is emerging as a force on the bidding landscape. It was a member of the OpenRTB group but then dropped out.


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