Amazon Debuts Video Ads; Tim Berners-Lee Argues Against Targeted Political Ads

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The Strong Silent Type

“With little fanfare, Amazon Video Ads rolled out this week to advertisers working with the Amazon Media Group,” reports Laurie Sullivan at MediaPost. The ads are mobile, outstream and autoplay, and they meet IAB and MRC viewability standards. Amazon’s habitual silence means a product release can raise more questions than answers, as was the case last year when it introduced Video Direct ads for Prime content partners [AdExchanger coverage]. What will these ads look like exactly, how will they be targeted and under what circumstances will they run? Not clear. Amazon is deferential to user experience over advertising, though “outstream” and “autoplay” throw up red flags. More.

Web Founder Throws Dart

A letter from Tim Berners-Lee published by The Web Foundation describes targeted political messaging as a menace to democratic society. He writes, “Targeted advertising allows a campaign to say completely different, possibly conflicting things to different groups. Is that democratic?” Berners-Lee cites a claim published in The Guardian that Trump’s campaign would create upward of 40,000 ad versions on a single day. His solution: “We urgently need to close the ‘internet blind spot’ in the regulation of political campaigning.” More.

Winning Over Skeptics

Facebook’s Instant Articles is reeling from media blowback about editorial judgement, revenue yield and audience intermediation, reports Cory Weinberg at The Information (subscription-gated). Facebook has a trick or two up its sleeve, though. Last week the platform announced it would allow an Instant Articles ad every 250 words, up from 350 words. Apple has similarly used its daily news platform to conjure valuable inventory out of thin air. But publishers are abandoning their Instant Articles traffic strategies, Weinberg reports, and are embracing an approach that could be summed up in one word: “skeptical.”

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