Online Advertising Puts Another Link In The Blockchain

The drumbeat of blockchain industry news continues this week with the launch of AdLedger Consortium, a blockchain-enabled online advertising group backed by MadHive, a blockchain ad tech startup, IBM, Integral Ad Science and Tegna's OTT ad subsidiary Premion.

As with other initiatives, like Comcast's fledgling Blockchain Insights Platform, the AdLedger Consortium is still in the early stages. It's more like a working group than a live product.

The group will take on issues like technical standards, regulatory concerns and the language of “smart contracts,” automated queries and deals that are handled by the blockchain service. It will also advance an open-source code for something called “the blind trust,” which Helfgott describes as a method to upload and transact first-party data.

The goal for AdLedger is to create a programmatic supply chain where the intermediaries and stakeholders that contribute data to a campaign are transparent to buyers and sellers.

The group's first meeting will include 15-20 execs from across the industry, including media companies, agencies, supply chain intermediaries (aka ad tech) and at least one brand, MadHive CEO Adam Helfgott told AdExchanger. He compared the initiative to the early days of OpenRTB.

AdLedger Consortium's initial goal is to enable the use of blockchain to power direct deals that co-mingle first-party data with media seller data, as Comcast’s advanced TV consortium aims to do.

For instance, Premion could allow its OTT and streaming partners on the sell side to share data with buyers, said Jim Wilson, president of the Tegna unit. So a brand could supply a list of recent known shoppers and the partners from Premion’s supply network would return logged-in users who match the list.

Another consortium member, IBM, has been experimenting with blockchain protocols across other verticals, such as the data-sensitive healthcare arena. It partnered with MadHive earlier this year, said Peter Guglielmino, CTO for IBM’s media and entertainment division.

“The more we got into it the more we saw there was a need for it in the programmatic space," Guglielmino said.

As with other consortium members, IBM is building out a proof of concept before pitching a complete service. In one example, that means testing what works and what doesn’t in a data-sharing instance between an IBM CPG customer and its agency partners.

“We’ll be testing in the summer and if there’s something demonstrable serving at least one aspect of the process we’ll likely begin adding business partners,” he said.

 

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