Ad Tech News Roundup – May 2021

Mark Dixon News

At Sortable, when we come across news articles that impact our industry and other publishers, we share them with each other and chat about the implications. In order to expand the discussion, we want to share these articles with you and give our opinions on what we think it means for Ad Tech. Our hope is to create a dialogue around these articles and really dig into what each of them mean for our industry.

We have Mark Dixon, a Product Manager at Sortable, offering his take on the following industry articles:

The UID 2.0 Code Base Is Officially Open Source 

Unified ID 2.0 (UID2) is now open source. The Trade Desk committed the full open source code base for Unified ID 2.0 to the PRAM (Partnership for Responsible Addressable Media) Technical Working Group, which is run by the IAB Tech Lab. 

Although it’s not official yet, the IAB Tech Lab will most likely serve as the administrator of UID 2.0 with the ability to dole out encryption keys to participants. Prebid is already signed on as one of the initiative’s operators.

The UID2 infrastructure calls for multiple operators and at least one independent compliance manager or auditor whose job it will be to ensure that participants are adhering to a code of conduct. Through the next couple of months, The Trade Desk plans to announce who will fulfill some of those functions.

Mark’s take

Unified ID 2.0 has a lot of moving pieces, but it’s good to see some of them falling into place with Prebid already taking on an operator role and the code base submitted to PRAM. Administration and compliance auditing are crucial roles still yet to be confirmed though, with The Trade Desk continuing to function as administrator in the interim.

The original Unified ID is already one of the top Prebid User ID modules for publisher adoption, and many of the major players in the industry have signed on to support the initiative. Criteo is also leading a Prebid taskforce to develop a single sign-on solution that would help drive scale and adoption with users. So while there may yet be plenty of work to be done, the progress and collaboration is encouraging as leaders from all corners of the industry are banding together to solve for the oncoming challenges of a world without third-party cookies.

CEO Dennis Buchheim Exits The IAB Tech Lab At A Time Of Turmoil For Online Identity 

IAB Tech Lab’s CEO Dennis Buchheim has resigned after assuming the CEO role just in February, and his last day on May 21. The exact nature of what he’ll be doing is not yet clear, a blog post announcing his departure notes that his next move is “an opportunity to collaborate with the industry from a different, and important, perspective.” It is important to note that “Buchheim is the second top executive to exit the IAB Tech Lab in less than two months” which appears a little troubling. 

Mark’s take

As AdExchanger’s Allison Schiff said, the timing and stature of the IAB departures are “noteworthy and perhaps a little troubling.” It’s difficult to gauge what impact the turnover might have, but the changes come at an important time for industry bodies to be leading the way in developing privacy-focused solutions for the open web. Platforms such as Google are certain to take advantage of ecosystem changes if other parties fail to align and provide positive alternatives.

PE Firm Apollo Is Buying Verizon Media For $5 Billion 

Private equity firm Apollo Global Management announced its intention to acquire Verizon Media for $5 billion. The new company will be called Yahoo, and Verizon will maintain a minority 10% stake in it. Verizon Media CEO, Guru Gowrappan, will stay on as CEO of the new Yahoo when the deal closes, which is expected in the second half of this year.

Mark’s take

What’s old is new again as the new company under Apollo will be renamed “Yahoo.” Over the past several years, Verizon acquired AOL and Yahoo, merged them as Oath, then rebranded as Verizon Media. Maybe someday their bidder code in Prebid will catch up?

That’s not the only news in merger and acquisition from May though. Pulsepoint was acquired by Internet Brands, Insticator bought OKO, and Amobee may be getting shopped around. Don’t expect news like this to slow down either, with privacy related changes ramping up the pressure and incentive to make moves in a rapidly evolving landscape.

Disclaimer: All views expressed in this blog are Sortable employees’ or other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Sortable or Sortable’s product/product roadmap.