Vox Media Loves Programmatic; How Facebook Bargains With Regimes

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Finding Religion

Vox Media is opening the door wide to programmatic ad buyers. While the pub, which owns Recode and SB Nation, sold some banner ads programmatically, it’s now throwing its so-called Concert ads into the mix. Concert offers high-impact messaging across Vox properties as well as affiliates such as NBCUniversal. Vox’s decision speaks to the maturation of automated ad buying. "We think now, we're not limiting a programmatic buyer to bad creative," Concert GM Ryan Pauley told Business Insider’s Mike Shields. "I think the ecosystem has solved for direct response advertising. Now this will allow for brand building." Read more. Vox, of course, isn’t the only programmatic holdout reversing course. BuzzFeed made a splash a few weeks ago when it answered advertiser demand by offering ads programmatically.

Free Speech

The New York Times examines Facebook’s struggle with governments that rule over its next billion consumers. Facebook has sometimes conceded to oppressive regimes that curb free speech and access to information. For instance, it recently worked with the powers that be in Vietnam to remove “inaccurate posts about its senior leaders,” The Times reports. In 2016, it developed a tool that could suppress posts in certain regions of China, and Chinese government officials often place ad buys on Facebook to spread propaganda messages. A recent push into Africa has led countries like Chad to ban Facebook for fear of its ever-growing influence. “Ultimately, it’s a grand power struggle,” said David Reed, a former professor at the MIT Media Lab. “Governments started waking up as soon as a significant part of their powers of communication of any sort started being invaded by companies.” Read on.

Meanwhile, In Europe

Google has offered to let rival shopping sites bid on Product Listing Ads in its shopping section to appease the EU, which fined the company $2.9 billion in June for favoring its own comparison shopping service, Reuters reports. As part of the deal, Google said it will set a price floor with its own bids. European regulators and Google Shopping competitors feel that the response doesn’t resolve the issues set out by the fine and see the case as an opportunity to go after Google in other areas, such as maps and travel.  “Unless Google is volunteering to break up its general- and specialized-search businesses, the inclusion of Google’s comparison shopping competitors into a new or existing pay-for-placement auction would simply create an additional anti-competitive barrier,” said a spokesperson from Foundem, a UK price comparison site. More.

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