The Council for Accountable Advertising Forms; Chairman Messer Discusses

The Council for Accountable AdvertisingCross Commerce Media, Inc., MediaMath and TARGUSinfo have announced the creation of the Council for Accountable Advertising whose initiatives will aim "to protect clients from sub-standard practices and, at the same time, remove some of the complexity around adoption of cutting edge technology," according to the release. Read more on the Council's website.

Stephen Messer, Vice Chairman of Cross Commerce Media, and Chairman of the Council discussed the announcement and its implications.

AdExchanger.com: The Council's stated goal is "To clarify the confusion that exists in the ad tech market and promote standards for the industry (...)" Why not work through an industry org like the Interactive Advertising Bureau on this initiative?

SM: The IAB is an incredible organization that does an amazing job of representing the interest of the industry as a whole.  We are fully supportive of their efforts to grow interactive advertising and they do incredible work in educating the marketplace about the importance of this category.  That helps us all.  The IAB is critical to our space and we consider them a valuable partner in what we are trying to accomplish. We’re not trying to grow an industry category in the same way that Apple isn’t trying to explain the value of computers.  We’re looking to help our customers understand our respective companies.

The Council is separate for several reasons.  In order to be a member, you must be nominated.   By its nature, the IAB is a much more open and welcoming organization, as they should be.  Also, we have very specific technical goals aimed at reducing barriers of adoption for the best technologies on the market.

Finally, where the IAB is more focused on explaining the value of the category and setting overall standards, our goal is transparency into how our companies view issues.  We accept differing perspectives—our goal is to articulate them clearly.

Can you be more specific on the qualifications to join the Council?

For starters, you must be nominated by a Council Member.  From there, we have established stringent standards for admission.  Our evaluation is designed to mirror the due diligence a customer of ours would do in evaluating a technology partner.

In order to be approved for membership, the nominee needs to meet the following criteria:

  • They must be a leading technology provider in their respective category.  In addition to passing technical benchmarks and hurdles on scalability, each company’s technology must be a clear winner in their category.
  • They must have demonstrated proven leadership and vision in their respective market.  Senior executives from companies being considered for membership must have demonstrated a proficiency for leading the industry, as evidenced through the marketplace’s adoption of their vision and technology.
  • They must work with leading customers and industry titans.
  • They must demonstrate that their technology has had a significant impact on their clients’ businesses. As such, each company, prior to review, must have several major customers serve as a reference.
  • They must establish proven financial and business strength.  Each company must prove strong financial standing and demonstrate continued investment in the execution of its vision.
  • They must be dedicated to improving their local communities.  Each company must be committed to serving the community in which it operates and be willing to openly discuss their perspective on industry issues.

Why would a company want to join?  And, what's the cost?

Cost is minimal, as this is not about making money.  Fees are used to cover the costs of communicating clearly who we are and what we do.  Companies who can demonstrate real excellence and value, who are willing to integrate with other technologies for the benefit of their customers, and who want to clearly articulate their position on industry issues would want to be members.

Where are the "big guys" like Google, Yahoo!, others?  Is there room for them?

The older players have as much of an interest in clarity around their markets as do leaders emerging in others.  Several are highly valued and respected partners of Council members, and have already been nominated for membership.  We expect them to join in the near future.

Who owns Council for Accountable Advertising? Or is it a non-profit?

The Council was created by and for its members.  There are no “owners”.

Finally, why choose the domain councilinsider.com?

We’ve decided that we’ll host discussions on issues and present multiple points of view so that a marketer can make an informed choice about their own position and what they want to buy.  We haven’t agreed to agree on everything but rather show our customers the respect of openly sharing our positions.

The Council Insider will host a private blog accessible to the customers of our member companies.  The blog will provide candid content with clear and concise perspectives on the companies with whom they do business.

By John Ebbert

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