Ads.txt's Uptake; Facebook's Headache

Here’s today’s AdExchanger.com news round-up… Want it by email? Sign up here.

Ads.txt Progress

Over at Ad Ops Insider, Ben Kneen analyzes Ads.txt adoption by publishers and finds that while uptake of the fraud-fighting technology remains low, it’s growing rapidly. To get his data, Kneen used an Ads.txt crawler developed by Neal Richter, who helped develop the spec for the IAB Tech Lab. Out of approximately 1,930 domains drawn from the Alexa top 10,000 domains, 248 (or 12.8%) published a file. Kneen breaks down the types of publishers that are publishing files and their most common partners (Google is tops, unsurprisingly), and makes recommendations for how to improve on the Ads.txt concept. Read on.

Targeting Gone Wrong

The hits just keep on coming for Facebook, from fake ads affiliated with Russia to claims of reach for key demos in excess of US Census numbers. The platform’s latest headache is an exposé in ProPublica – picked up by The New York Times and others over the weekend – that uncovered an exceedingly unorthodox targeting methodology: anti-Semitic ad categories. It’s important to note that an algorithm created the categories by glomming onto keywords and phrases that some people had shown an interest in and that the segments were small. For example, roughly 15 people were targetable by using the “Hitler did nothing wrong” topic. Regardless, it’s a massive black eye for Facebook, which responded swiftly by shutting down so-called self-reported targeting fields in its ad system until further notice. “We know we have more work to do,” said Rob Leathern, product management at Facebook. Related: Google has a similar problem, BuzzFeed reports.

Data Dollars

Oracle’s quarterly earnings usually focus on its database business, but co-CEO Mark Hurd dropped in a brief nugget during the company’s Q1 2018 on Thursday about its data cloud. For those not keeping track, that’s the unit built from Datalogix, Moat, Crosswise and AddThis [AdExchanger coverage]. Hurd noted that data as a service (aka data cloud) was up 53% YoY and is over a half billion in annualized run rate. Read the transcript.

Google’s Whim

An upcoming version of Google Chrome will block all autoplay videos with the sound on unless “the user has indicated an interest in the media,” Google wrote in a blog post. The updated browser will also give users the option to mute individual sites. “This will allow autoplay to occur when users want media to play, and respect users' wishes when they don't,” Google wrote. But it wasn’t all sour news for advertisers: Google also removed its autoplay blocker on Android Chrome in an effort to make “muted autoplay” the new status quo. More at TechCrunch.  

LiveRamp Shuffle

LiveRamp has had a small executive shakeup, with CEO Travis May beamed up to the Acxiom mothership to serve as its chief growth officer. Meanwhile, back in LiveRamp land, Chief Product Officer Anneka Gupta and sales veep James Arra will serve as co-presidents. While LiveRamp, which is a big part of Acxiom’s Connectivity Division, doesn’t make up the bulk of Acxiom’s revenue, it has since its 2014 acquisition [AdExchanger coverage] been the data giant’s primary growth area. Look for Connectivity to continue to be a bigger part of its parent company’s business in the years to come, as Acxiom positions itself as the marketing/advertising industry’s data infrastructure, and perhaps even tries to go beyond the marketing world. Read the release.

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