🌯 Ad Tech Giants Get Slaps On Wrists Part 2

AdMonsters Wrapper: The weekly ad tech news wrap up
This Week
June 21, 2022
Apple ATT Is Anti Everything Else
Google's in the Hot Seat... AGAIN
IBM Launches New AI Toolkit in Cannes Limits Ad Bias
Around the Water Cooler
German Regulator Calls out Apple's ATT For Disrupting Competition
Nowadays, it seems like every time you turn around there's another big tech antitrust investigation. This time it's German regulators looking into Apple ATT's anti-competitive nature. Much of the ad tech community is over Apple and has been side-eyeing them ever since they released App Tracking Transparency.

The Bundeskartellamt's investigation geared toward Apple ATT, and according to their president Andreas Mundt signifies, "a corporation like Apple which is in a position to unilaterally set rules for its ecosystem, in particular for its App Store, should make pro-competitive rules." And this isn't the first time ATT is being probed, back in December, Poland's competition watchdog was all over it.

A few weeks ago, we wrote about how Apple's ATT fumbled the bag for other big tech companies and that will only continue to happen. Many do not realize that Apple is still tracking user metrics and behaviors for its own good.

Yes, Apple still collects your data and does whatever the hell it would like with it.

In fact, Apple has been slipping its own "pay-to-play" ad products in there, like ads appearing at the top of your App store results that are micro-targeted with data that advertisers can no longer access. An analyst believes that Apple's ad business can grow exponentially by 2025.
Why This Matters
It's giving very fake. We see why regulators and half the ad tech world are mad.

Apple claims their ATT rules apply to all developers, including themselves, but we know this is not the whole truth, so why lie, Apple?

Publishers have not found their way around Apple ATT, and they will continue to scramble because Apple's "pro-privacy" antics are actually only enhancing their own ad tech model and helping them grow. Even at our recent Ops conference, publishers were telling us that the main strategy they have for ATT is acquiring more Android users. We wonder how long Apple will get away with not admitting that they are still targeting and tracking iOS users.
Google in the Hot Seat AGAIN for Knowingly Selling Consumer Data
From Apple to Google, these ad tech giants stay in deep doo-doo, but this Google story is about to get a little crazy. Like Apple, Google also explains things in pleasant and angelic marketing speak on their websites. Pretending to be pro-privacy and for the people.

What we mean by this is the language used on their privacy policy pages. On Google, they claim "they don't share information that personally identifies you with advertisers." Their "How Our Business Works" page promises never to share personal information.

Well, the jokes on us because Google has been caught red-handed illegally selling users' personal information to third parties in auctions for ad space. And they were doing this over and over again! One would think Google would be on their best behavior as they are always getting in trouble for things like this. We just wrote about the CMA in the UK coming after them also.

According to the plaintiff, Google solicits participants to bid on sending an ad to people, using data about each person in a bid request provided to the auction. Those participating in the auction receive information about users and fight for space to send advertisements; the winning bidder pays Google. To make matters even creepier, Google allows "surveillance participants." These folks have no interest in filling an ad space but participate just to access users' info.
Why This Matters
While the judge did dismiss one count against Google (breach of covenant claim) as she did agree that Google did not do this to harm consumers intentionally, the judge did deny all of Google's other reasons to dismiss the case.

Google swore up and down that there is no actual breach of the privacy policy and claimed plaintiffs do not allege that Google shared any information. But according to Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rodgers the plaintiffs "have alleged enough facts to draw a reasonable interference that Google had shared their personal information by way of the RTB process."

Google, when will you get it together? Who knows, and while all the regulations are cool and consumer pleasing, they still won't bring us back to the advertising ecosystem that pubs were able to monetize off of so freely thanks to privacy shrimacy.
IBM Links with Big Brands to End to Biases in Ad Tech

Amid all the upheaval mentioned above, here comes IBM, ready to save the day. But only as it pertains to putting big tech in its place when it comes to cracking down on bias in advertising and marketing. Of course, it's no secret that ad targeting reinforces bias.

While at the Cannes Lions festival, IBM presented a new initiative that brings together agencies, brands, and other leaders to create awareness and start the process of mitigating bias in advertising tech.

Within the initiative is the "Advertising Toolkit for AI Fairness 360," a new open-source technology that uses AI to find and eliminate biases in discrete data sets. Microsite is another layer of this IBM effort that will keep the industry and consumers up-to-date on what is being done to stop bias.

"The industry is reinventing itself because changes taking place in privacy, cookies, and identifiers," said Sheri Bachstein, CEO of The Weather Company and GM of IBM Watson Advertising. "While we reinvent ourselves, let's mitigate the bias as much as we can."

Why This Matters
We learned that to better understand bias's potential impact on advertising campaigns, more industry participation, and data collection is needed. However, industry leaders are out there advocating by raising awareness and taking action through IBM's Advertising Fairness Pledge.

The toolkit has 13 algorithms and shows how to run tests and what to look for to capture and mitigate biases based on where they may appear in a campaign. The toolkit suggests using certain algorithms to help alleviate the bias found in metrics. Well, we will see how effective this is.
Around the Water Cooler
But wait, there's more...

ADPPA Could Be Even More Confusing and Costly Than CCPA
Will the bipartisan drafted American Data Privacy and Protection Act (ADPPA) pass in its current form? Most critics say: not. While big tech has hoped for one data privacy law to rule them all instead of having to comply with various state laws, ADPPA may not provide what they seek. In fact, as it's currently written, it would allow those other laws in California, Virginia, etc. to remain in standing as long as any complaint brought forth by a consumer under any of those laws doesn't violate ADPPA. Can we say confusing AF — and likely very costly to comply with all of those laws and then just imagine the fines that would ensue if found in violation.

We've talked ad infinitum about popup consent fatigue. Well, this doesn't sound like it will get any better. And we haven't even touched on the technical cluster**** this will be for the advertising ecosystem as publishers, advertisers, and ad tech vendors will all be required to name all of the entities in the chain. It's all still a big wait-and-see scenario, but now even more reason to build strong privacy-safe first-party data strategies and diversify revenue streams before it's too late.
Sweet Tweet
Missing Father's Day For Cannes
“Cat's in the Cradle” but the lyrics changed to reflect mid-level Ad Tech execs missing Father’s Day to be in Cannes. Send tweet.
Worth a Listen
How to Scale Your First-Party Data Strategy
Héléne Parker welcomes Josh Perlstein of Response Media to the Programmatic Digest Podcast to discuss data-driven advertising, the latest trends in first-party data, cookie deprecation, and taking your first-party data strategy to the next level.
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