The Trade Desk holds fire on full Yahoo video suspension

According to sources, media buyers can still buy Yahoo video inventory using The Trade Desk following a weeks-long dispute, including marketplace suspensions.

While exact details remain unclear, a gap has seemingly been narrowed over how video advertising inventory is represented, even after an earlier July 1 deadline. Last month, the industry’s largest demand-side platform began notifying buyers, informing them it was considering moves to limit access to Yahoo’s inventory.

The DSP proposed the measure to resolve a disagreement over Yahoo’s representation of its video ad space – pending further negotiations. Hence, on June 17, Yahoo’s access to The Trade Desk’s buyer demand for video inventory on the open market was initially throttled.

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Additionally, it further mooted disabling access to all of Yahoo’s video inventory, including via private marketplace deals, on July 1, should the issue persist.

Digiday was unable to establish whether or not The Trade Desk and Yahoo have reached a full agreement on how video ad space is signaled. However, several buy-side sources confirmed with Digiday that the earlier mooted July 1 switch-off did not take place.

When Digiday approached the Trade Desk for comment on July 1, the Trade Desk declined. However, separate sources confirmed that Yahoo video inventory was available via both first—and third-party PMPs as of July 2.

Sources told Digiday that Yahoo executives met with IAB Tech Lab to revise how to appropriately signal its inventory in the week between the June 17 switch-off and the later July deadline. Albeit, this was far short of a full audit.  

Although, it’s unclear if a rapprochement between the pair was reached in that window.

Meanwhile, in an emailed statement shared with Digiday Yahoo’s Erin Miller, vp, corp. communications, underscored the company’s support of the IAB Tech Lab’s standards, and claimed The Trade Desk’s earlier suspension had “minimal impact to our revenue.”   

“Our approach has been to align with the emerging industry standard, which we believe best serves the interests of our users, partners, and business, and that is our number one priority,” read the July 1 Yahoo statement.

Over a year after those standards were released, this may still be a big industry problem
Erez Levin, industry consultant

Miller also noted that alternative DSPs, such as Google’s DV360 were satisfied with its approach to representing its video inventory. “We remain committed to interoperability and the open internet, ensuring a healthy digital advertising ecosystem for all stakeholders,” the statement continued.

At the core of the dispute were concerns over Yahoo’s declaration of its video advertising inventory as in-stream. In its June deliberations, the DSP’s marketplace quality team claimed Yahoo’s practices are not in accordance with the latest industry standards. Rather, they interpreted its definition as more akin to “accompanying content”— ad inventory that is less desirable for media buyers – under the latest guidelines. 

While the latest developments are not a sure-fire sign of an agreement between the pair, several sources approached by Digiday interpreted the stand-off as a means of The Trade Desk underlining its commitment to “the premium internet” to buyers and how there could be similar face-offs to come.

“It’s like The Trade Desk saying, ‘We’ve got you covered if you want premium, clean supply… the open web is scary,’ and The Trade Desk is the source for premium,” commented one source, who requested anonymity in exchange for candor.    

Meanwhile, Erez Levin, an industry consultant with extensive insight into how the latest IAB video standards were developed, noted that while the snafu between The Trade Desk and Yahoo may be comparatively minor, bigger disputes could be in store.

He added, “What if we factor all the other DSPs that may not be as discerning about quality, and all the other sell-side actors that continue to declare their muted ads as In-stream in conflict with the OpenRTB standard?”

“Over a year after those standards were released, this may still be a big industry problem whose consequences we have not yet faced.”

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