Google And IAB In The Crosshairs Over RTB (Again); Insta Intros Shopping In Reels

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Avengers Assemble (Please!)

Google and the IAB are once again under the EU’s gimlet eye. A group of human rights orgs sent coordinated privacy complaints to regulators on Thursday in six European countries. At issue is whether the practice of real-time bidding is a violation of GDPR. The group is urging privacy bodies in Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Malta, Portugal and Romania to team up with lead supervisory bodies in Ireland and Belgium, which are looking for similar complaints, Reuters reports. The complaints aren’t coming out of the blue. RTB has been criticized before, both in the EU and the United States. Google responded to this latest development by saying it continues to cooperate with the inquiry into RTB spearheaded by Ireland’s Data Protection Commission. Meanwhile, the IAB insisted, yet again, that it’s neither a data controller nor a data processor. (Read up on those definitions here.) The IAB argues that it is but a mere trade org that develops best practices and standards, and that it’s not responsible for how those practices and standards are deployed.

Instagram Reels In Money

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Instagram is trying to one up TikTok, this time with the launch of Shopping in its TikTok copycat product Reels, TechCrunch reports. The idea here is that both businesses and creators will be able to tag products when they create short-form videos for Reels, which now have their own tab in Instagram following last month’s redesign. Instagram isn’t the only social media app investing to up its ecommerce game. TikTok partnered with Shopify in October to boost its platform as a place where audiences can make purchases. The addition of Shopping within Reels is only the latest ecom functionality to be woven into Instagram. Users can already make purchases on Instagram through the Feed, in Stories and within both Instagram Live and IGTV.

Part Deux

France’s data protection watchdog, the CNIL, has levied fines against Google and Amazon for dropping cookies without consent on the French versions of their sites, The Verge reports. This is Amazon’s first run-in with the CNIL and Google’s second. Google was hit with a 50 million euro fine in January 2019 for GDPR infractions, and later lost its appeal against the CNIL over said sanction earlier this year. This time around, Google is being fined 100 million euros (roughly $163 million), while Amazon is being fined 35 million euros (around $42 million). Specifically, both firms were called out for not getting consent before placing trackers on a user’s device, which is required under the EU’s ePrivacy Directive. Google and Amazon have both since updated their websites, but the CNIL isn’t satisfied that their pop-ups provide enough information or make it clear how visitors can opt out of cookie tracking. They’ve got three months to fix the problem or risk being fined 100,000 euros (around $120,000) per day. Unsurprisingly, Google and Amazon disagree with the CNIL’s decision, which Google says overlooks its ongoing effort to provide users with tracking controls and “doesn’t account for the fact that French rules and regulatory guidance are uncertain and constantly evolving.”

Cloud Nine

Adobe reported record revenue for its fiscal fourth quarter and its fiscal 2020 overall, despite what CEO and president Shantanu Narayen called “an unprecedented macroeconomic environment.” Quarterly revenue clocked in at $3.42 billion, a 14% year-over-year increase, with $12.87 in annual revenue for the year, representing 15% YoY growth. But despite Adobe’s bang-up performance in Q4 of this year, the company continues to experience some headwinds related to its Advertising Cloud business, MarketWatch reports. The drag is related to Adobe’s ongoing wind down of its transaction-driven ad network business, which Narayen has referred to in the past as “resource intensive,” and “no longer core” to Adobe’s focus on customer experience management and no longer contributing to Adobe’s subscription-based bookings and revenue. [Related in AdExchanger: “Adobe Exits The Managed Service Business – What Does It All Mean?”]

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