Call It A Mud Room; For Better Or Worse, Everyone Wants A Piece Of Nielsen


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Keep It Clean

Clean room? 

More like a mud room. It’s where people can leave their “dirty” (read: private first-party) data without ruining the rest of the house. 

The marketer point of view often goes something like this: “‘Our data is going to a clean environment to be washed away of all privacy-violating sins. Hallelujah!’” writes Therran Oliphant at Consent Economy. Oliphant is executive director of the consulting practice at Omnicom’s PHD.

Cookie syncs are inelegant but familiar. 

“[Data] sharing used to rely on cookie syncs; mobile ad ID (MAID) matching; and customer onboarding to connect disparate spaces, seamlessly,” he writes. “While imperfect, the process is well understood.”

Now data is “fortified with attributes” within a clean room where different first-party or private data sets can match based on shared data points. To avoid getting too granular, clean rooms also add noise, redact IDs and obfuscate the data so no individual targeted by an advertiser can be parsed from the clean room reports.

The walled garden clean rooms everyone thinks of as clean rooms are, in fact, not clean rooms at all. They’re first-party data bins owned by media companies. But that’s a story for another day.

Not Buying The Buyout

Despite buyout rumors boosting its stock price, problems continue to pile up for Nielsen.

Allen Media Group is suing the TV ratings incumbent for billions, Deadline reports. The suit alleges Nielsen knew it presented unreliable TV ratings data and covered up deficiencies in its measurement.

Allen Media is also seeking to redo its contract with Nielsen, contending that Nielsen should be charging less for services since it lost its MRC accreditation.

The suit is the latest challenge to Nielsen’s hold on TV measurement. But could a buyout be just what Nielsen needs to repair its tattered reputation?

Rumors that private equity firms are considering a deal for the beleaguered Nielsen at a $15 billion price tag caused the measurement giant’s stock to jump 30% earlier this week. 

But TV industry insiders don’t think a buyout will change the situation much, according to The Drum. TV execs lost trust in Nielsen because its measurement practices broke down during the pandemic and because it continues to force old TV ratings methodology on an industry that’s eager for change.


The Open Web Advocacy group, a British advocacy org, is pressing the UK’s competition regulator to investigate Apple for alleged anti-competitive practices, because it won’t allow non-WebKit-based browsers on iOS. 

Many iPhone or iPad owners don’t know that Firefox, Chrome and other Chromium browsers are actually just clones wrapped around Apple’s WebKit tech (which Safari is based on), according to The New Stack.

What that means is progressive web apps (PWA) – services that natively respond to the user in a browser or in the app ecosystem – are killed off for everyone. In theory, a Chrome browser could support a PWA, but the version of Chrome built on WebKit cannot. 

The WebKit PWA kill switch is particularly galling because Apple forces developers to use browser code that hasn’t kept pace with the browser market for years when it comes to product development cycles.

Apple, on the other hand, considers it a potential security issue to have apps or similar services that can be downloaded outside the App Store. Real talk: It’s also a potential route for developers to skirt Apple’s fee on in-app revenue.

But Wait, There’s More!

Music’s messy digital revolution. [NYT]

Substack’s Shopify problem. [The Rebooting]

Omnicom will pull its operations in Russia. [Ad Age]

Macy’s rolls out a tech-driven fashion platform. [MediaPost]

The 4A’s is telling its members how to crack down on unscrupulous ad tech players. [Digiday]

You’re Hired!

GroupM brings back Jessica Maley as chief people officer for its subsidiary, Wavemaker. [release]

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