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ARTICLE

An Open, Inclusive and Neutral Foundation for Identity vs. a Proprietary Commercial Consortium Foundation: Part 1

April 8, 2019 — by John Slocum    

MediaMath’s John Slocum recently penned a column for AdExchanger’s Data-Driven Thinking on why proprietary universal identity efforts will hurt, not help, the marketing ecosystem. Below, he shares more in-depth insights on how MediaMath is providing the alternative via an open, inclusive, neutral approach to identity.

MediaMath believes that any industry-wide ID solution needs to be standard and commoditized to gain broad adoption across our intensely dynamic space. The standard must be neutral, not pick winners and be free from risk of change in control and strategic or competitive conflict. It should not be profit-driven but rather designed for reinvestment in the standard for the good of the whole.

Commercial consortium ID solutions perpetuate the fragmentation in identity and are unreliable.

With so many options being proffered as open, accessible, scaled identity ‘consortium’ solutions, it’s weak that the product of the solutions being offered to the siloed, fragmented identity landscape is—more fragmentation, trading out proprietary cookies for proprietary ID solutions. The proposed solutions operate purely on proprietary tech, controlled by for-profit vendors, benefiting those vendors directly. The proposed solutions do anything but level the playing field; they fence it off, create a gatekeeper and charge a hefty admission fee.

The vulnerability to instability in a proprietary solution is evident already. Anyone who invested in keying and transacting on the AppNexus ID, with APN the primary domain supporting the Ad ID Consortium, now has to re-key their device ID entirely because APN left Ad ID last September. That demonstrates to advertisers, publishers and platforms that the risk of entrusting your fundamental connection—your digital last mile—to consumers, on proprietary, for-profit components they don’t control, is too great. To anyone still keying off another platform’s proprietary offering, it might be good to have a Plan B.

MediaMath can and will sell you our proprietary identity solutions—ConnectedID and EnrichedID. They are differentiated, scaled, hybrid, global, fully integrated throughout our platform, open on the front end and portable. We invest significantly in developing these products with a single goal that is to create client value. They are not standards, they are not free and they are competitive. We think it’s worth being clear on this point—you get what you pay for!

MediaMath will not sell you what we believe is the right new standard ID that aligns with our principles because it’s not ours to sell. We will present to you our principles and hope you find them cogently assembled. We will also propose to you the solution that we see aligning with these principles, and support your investigation into the same.

The failure of the AD ID Consortium is the canary in the coal mine.

Ad ID joined DigiTrust in 2018 because Ad ID was clearly feeling the pressure of serving its founders’ interests above members,’ while competing on multiple fronts with those it sought to recruit as members. Ad ID’s decision to join DigiTrust confirmed the market’s need for a neutral, independent device-level identifier. MediaMath has been committed to neutrality and independence since we helped to found Ad ID (then Open Ad ID) before deciding to leave when the effort veered down a path incompatible with broad adoption.

We are experiencing more fragmentation than ever before as device and channel proliferation continues unabated. Consortium members competing directly against each other and their claimed consortiums adds confusion for marketers. MediaMath strives to offer clarity and solutions. We can do better.

Check back next week for Part II of this series. 

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