Home Marketing Perfection Thwarting Progress: Response to IAB Tech Lab’s Missive on Google’s Privacy Sandbox

Perfection Thwarting Progress: Response to IAB Tech Lab’s Missive on Google’s Privacy Sandbox

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Perfection Thwarting Progress: Response to IAB Tech Lab’s Missive on Google’s Privacy Sandbox

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The Privacy Sandbox’s road to industrywide support hit another roadblock Tuesday.

The crux of the IAB Tech Lab’s 106-page analysis focuses on the ways Google-backed cookie alternative Privacy Sandbox does not support many functions enabled by the current, cookie-supported, ad-tech ecosystem, specifically calling out its lack of support in measurement, brand safety and preserving commercial deals.

While these are legitimate industry grievances, some believe that the analysis might let perfect be the enemy of good, raising so many critiques with one of the leading cookie replacement solutions that the industry cannot progress toward a privacy-focused era of digital advertising before time runs out later this year.

“Some of the [report’s] complaints seem like they come straight from ad-tech companies that a) will see their businesses significantly damaged by cookie deprecation and Privacy Sandbox and b) probably deserve it because they don’t really protect user privacy at all,” said Shiv Gupta, founder of ad-tech education outlet U of Digital. “We shouldn’t be able to serve all of the use cases [of digital advertising], because frankly, some of the use cases are an invasion of user privacy.”

The analysis has been lauded for its push for accountability from one of the industry’s largest trade bodies, which is sometimes thought to more reflect the interests of its largest members—among them, Google—instead of standing up to them.

“[It’s] good to see the IAB show backbone against Google. In the past, there have been criticisms that they won’t do it because Google is such an important member,” said Gupta. “This feels like healthy jostling.”

The IAB Tech Lab worked on the report for over six months with a working group of leaders from 65 companies across the industry. In a statement to ADWEEK, Shailley Singh, IAB Tech Lab chief operating officer and executive vice president of product, said the purpose of the analysis was to educate the industry about Privacy Sandbox, encourage testing and provide Google Chrome with feedback.

Overfocus on the Sandbox

While most of the industry has either just started testing Privacy Sandbox or hasn’t tested it at all, some ad-tech firms have spent years learning the protocols. This group has been working on solutions for various problems Privacy Sandbox poses, whereas the IAB Tech Lab is focused only on problems, said Lukasz Wlodarczyk, vp of programmatic ecosystem growth and innovation at demand-side platform RTB House.