INTERACTIVE: COMPANIES BACK AD STANDARD PUSH: NEW INDUSTRY GROUP DEVELOPING A WAY TO SHARE DATA ACROSS SITES

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The drive to standardize online advertising reports is picking up steam.

Several advertising technology companies, agencies and content providers are banding together to develop standards for sharing information about ad serving and reporting.

The Internet Advertising Technology Council's charter is to develop an open technical protocol that software companies can use to allow online advertisers, agencies, publishers and others to share data such as ad schedules and campaign reports. Most of the software on the market is incompatible.

'THIS IS SO BASIC'

"There's been very strong agreement from all the parties involved that we've got to be able to get this stuff back and forth. This is so basic," said Susan Lutter, director of communications for Focalink, an online advertising services company that played a leading role in founding the council.

Other members include online ad management software vendors Accipiter, Bellcore, ClickOver, Focalink, GlobalTrack, IMGIS, NetGravity, Real Media and W3.COM; interactive ad agencies Fathom, Los Angeles; i-traffic and K2 Design, both New York; and Modem Media, Westport, Conn., as well as Narrative Communications, a Web publisher.

Ms. Lutter said the council plans to have a draft of a new protocol prepared within a few weeks. Focalink and Bellcore already proposed such a protocol in late February; the council will be reviewing the document (http://www.focalink.com/home/pp) as a possible basis for a recommended protocol.

Both the Coalition for Advertising Supported Information and Entertainment and the Internet Advertising Bureau have working groups developing Web advertising measurement standards. The groups also expect to make drafts of those standards public in a matter of weeks, at which point they plan to coordinate their two

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