GroupM Clarifies Its Data Addendum; Middleware Gets Hot

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GroupM issued a response Tuesday to a Digiday article about its publisher Data Protection Addendum issued in preparation for GDPR. The agency group denies that the new policy asks publishers to share control of their audience data so GroupM can continue targeting ads under GDPR. Instead, GroupM says it sent the update to ensure “all the right disclosures and mechanisms for compliance with the GDPR are in place” between the WPP media-buying arm and its suppliers. “GroupM can neither assign to nor absolve publishers from the responsibility they have for the proper handling of the data they collect from consumers,” according to the statement. The agency group says over 1,200 publishers have already signed the addendum. Read the statement.

Rise To The Middle

Middleware might be an unsexy software category, but it’s a hot commodity as brands struggle with interoperable enterprise apps. Salesforce’s $6.5 billion deal for MuleSoft last week is one indicator of growing middleware valuations. A typical large brand “has gone from a [sic] managing their campaigns with just a dozen vendors to several hundred vendors over the past 20 years,” writes former LiveRamp CEO Travis May, now CEO of the health care data company Datavant. The growth of vendors and stack point solutions makes interoperability a key priority. They may not get much attention, but with defensible SaaS-based business models and the growing need for their services – which fill unflattering descriptions like “pipes,” “plumbing” and “glue” – this could be a boom season for middleware startups. More at Medium.

Dish Best Served Cold

AT&T-Time Warner attorneys cross-examined Dish Network group President Warren Schlichting on Tuesday after he testified for the Department of Justice that the AT&T deal would mean content blackouts and price hikes for consumers. Just as the government confronted AT&T executives with old statements decrying the merger of Comcast and NBCUniversal, AT&T is pointing to previous statements from its rival Dish downplaying the value of Turner content, reports Variety. Schlichting said those comments were negotiating tactics not to be construed as diminishing Turner Networks, which AT&T counsel Daniel Petrocelli attacked as either misleading to shareholders at the time or to the court now. More.

An Open ’Book

Bloomberg takes a deep dive into how Facebook continues to help scammy media networks thrive on its platform. Facebook’s algorithm has essentially taken the legwork out of affiliate scams by targeting people who are most likely to click on a deceptive ad and buy a garbage product. Facebook dedicated few resources to weeding out affiliate scams over the years, according to former employees, and it’s easy for scammers who do get caught to return to the platform under a different name. As late as mid-2017, when Facebook was already under scrutiny for facilitating Russian influence in the 2016 US election, the platform was involved in conferences such as Stack That Money, a gathering of affiliate networks in Berlin. “They go out and find the morons for me,” said one affiliate marketer who sells skincare creams with fake endorsements from Chelsea Clinton. More.

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