Rumor: Complaint To Be Filed About Real-Time Bidding With U.S. Federal Trade Commission

RTB ComplaintIt’s a rumor at this point, but an anonymous source informs that a “major” complaint is likely to be filed tomorrow by a consumer organization that “strikes at the heart of real-time bidding.” As many of you know, real-time bidding is believed to provide greater efficiency in digital display advertising by allowing advertisers and publishers to buy and sell individual display ad impressions (and potentially other formats eventually) in near real-time with the use of targeting parameters such as geographic location and behaviors of the user as well as information on the context of the ad in the page.

Stay tuned.

Update:  The news release is here.

By John Ebbert

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  1. J Rosen

    I have spent 20 years on Wall Street. I have run brokerage firms, headed compliance and have had numerous SEC licenses including Series 7, 63, 62, 24, 27 and 9.

    I have posted here many times. I do believe that a Wall Street mechanism is necessary for pricing not only the audience, but the content being consumed. That said:

    The Securities and Exchange Commission is just that; overseeing “securities” and their “exchanges.”

    It is my opinion that Real Time Bidding, although based on Wall Street nomenclature, does not provide the ability to “speculate” on the future value of an underlying asset.

    The government does not appear to have the authority to “regulate” an environment where speculation and the general public do not exist.

  2. Andrew

    My guess is that the complaint has more to do with privacy issues.

    remember the doubleclick/abacus direct hoopla? Think about how RTB is being leveraged now to target against data.

    The coming out party: could be what caused the issue to get noticed. In the article there is a reference to privacy issues:

    “The fact that you can be auctioned off in 12 milliseconds or less just illustrates how privacy in this country has rapidly eroded,” said Jeffrey Chester, executive director of the consumer group Center for Digital Democracy.”

    Well, we’ll wait and see what happens.

    I think data, its collection, distribution, and use needs to be regulated to protect the consumer. Standards need to be defined. Effective regulation (in the consumers eyes) which protects their privacy and puts standards around data could be the best thing to happen to the industry — because with trusted standards brands can more comfortably move their dollars online.

  3. Robert Smith

    Privacy issues? Total rubbish. The companies mentioned above are way too smart to to have detailed information on people (name, address, etc.). They do, however, record (anonymously) what a user does online and then try to put a more tailored ad, offer, etc. in front of them. No different than the information loyalty cards and/or credit cards capture about users. It helps merchants put more tailored offered in front of customers. As long as the targeting is good, I don’t mind it because tailored ads will help me potentially get a deal or discover a new product that I did not previously know about.

    Regulation? Please. Consumers ALREADY HAVE the ability to opt out…turn off cookies or flush your cookie cache after each session. Look peeps, we are still in a bad economy. Many of the products and services we consume online are subsidized by the advertisers that utilize the exchanges. I think government has more important things to worry about.