The Trade Desk Expands Its Direct Publisher Roster; Password-Free Makes Strange Bedfellows

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The Path Less Traveled

More publishers have signed up for OpenPath, The Trade Desk’s direct buy-to-sell-side integration.

Since launching in February, TTD says it’s “registered interest” (interesting turn of phrase) in OpenPath from more than 100 publishers. 

The latest crop to, uh, register interest, includes BuzzFeed, The Los Angeles Times, Forbes, Red Ventures (whose portfolio includes Lonely Planet, CNET and ZDNet) and Mediavine. They join The Washington Post, Condé Nast, CafeMedia, Reuters, McClatchy, Nexstar Digital and Tribune Publishing on the OpenPath roster.

Industry insiders speculate that Google stands to lose the most from TTD’s efforts to connect media buyers directly to publisher inventory. As of April 15, TTD discontinued transacting via Google’s Open Bidding platform, a header-bidding alternative that obscures the data behind individual ad bids. TTD will continue buying through the Google Ad Exchange, however.

But OpenPath was also widely seen as The Trade Desk encroaching on SSP turf. TTD pushed back against this assessment in its release, noting it “remains committed to serving only advertisers,” “is not entering the supply side of digital advertising” and “will not provide supply-side services, such as yield management.”

Okay.

Speak, Friend, And Enter

Apple, Microsoft and Alphabet [arranged by market cap just to put Google bottom of the heap, so there] have set aside competitive tensions and agreed to support a single, password-less sign-in for apps and websites. 

Although, it would be more accurate to say the companies have agreed to move forward with plans to create a joint sign-in. As in, the product doesn’t exist yet but should be available within the next year, according to a release

The W3C and the FIDO Alliance (an organization that promotes authentication technologies that don’t rely on passwords) are the venues to build the new standard. 

The ability to sign in without a password should help do away with the human error that can lead to fraudulent account takeovers. Rather than signing into an app, online store or news site, people would use their fingerprint, a pin ID or some other secure method to unlock their device, while Apple, Google or Microsoft would handle authentication. 

It’s a consumer-friendly change and one cybersecurity folks applaud. But it’s another example of how consumer priorities conflict with media and marketing. This change, like Apple’s Private Relay feature, which hides email account info, scrubs first-party business data – not just the third-party data that everyone agrees should disappear.

Debt! It’s So Trendy

Remember the subprime mortgage crisis, the auto industry bailout, runaway student debt? Meet the next financial debacle in the offing: the fast-accumulating debt taken on by American teenagers to purchase hastily manufactured Shein clothes and other crap being promoted on social media. 

Direct-to-consumer brands and popular influencers, especially on TikTok, lean heavily on buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) services as a way to iron out wrinkles in the checkout process – which is to say, to keep people from reconsidering purchases they shouldn’t make. 

Influencers “giddily display their ‘hauls’ from the most popular brands, not just normalizing debt but actually glamorizing it,” according to a report by SFGATE

BNPL services pitch themselves as budgeting tools and aren’t regulated like lenders or credit card companies. But the debt is debt, just the same. And since BNPL services have immediate, frictionless sign-ups and aren’t technically classified as lenders, people feel more comfortable taking out bigger loans – which is actually part of the pitch.  

“We do see larger cart sizes, larger purchases, relative to what they would put onto their debit cards and credit cards,” says Libor Michalek, president of Affirm, a large BNPL company and the major partner tied into Facebook and Instagram since a partnership in 2019. 

But Wait, There’s More!

Broke: Breaking up Big Tech. Woke: Breaking up Big Ads. [Gizmodo]

Search histories, location data, text messages: How personal data could be used to enforce anti-abortion laws. [CNN]

WPP and Epic Games partner to accelerate innovation for clients in the metaverse. [release]

McKinsey: How US consumers are feeling, shopping, and spending – and what it means for companies. [blog]

DISQO acquires Feedback Loop, which offers customer feedback and testing tech. [release]

Havas is the first agency to offer a new advertising ethics certification course. [Adweek

Holy ship! Shopify acquires delivery and logistics business Deliverr for $2.1 billion. [release]

Movement for an Open Web: UK regulators must now wield existing powers as plug may be pulled on Digital Markets Unit. [release]

You’re Hired!

Adobe promotes Ehren Hozumi to GM and VP of industries for Adobe Experience Cloud. [LinkedIn]

Freestar appoints Matt Whaley as its first-ever COO. [blog]

Audio streaming service TuneIn hires Tom Fuelling as CFO. [release]

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