Home Daily News Roundup Sharing Isn’t Always Caring; Will Apple Pass The Private Relay Baton?

Sharing Isn’t Always Caring; Will Apple Pass The Private Relay Baton?

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Broker A Peace

Data broker Adstra is suing IPG-owned businesses Acxiom and Kinesso for allegedly stealing trade secrets and sharing its data between them while launching a competitive product, Digiday reports.

Adstra was originally founded as the American List Counsel way back in 1978. It went by ALC for a while and then rebranded to Adstra in 2020. But it’s always served direct marketers, which for many decades meant supporting postal campaigns.

It’s one of many old-school consumer data and/or credit reporting companies that shifted into data-driven marketing services. Experian, TransUnion, Epsilon, Verisk and, of course, Acxiom, are other noteworthy examples.

Adstra CEO Rick Erwin acquired the latent ALC business with private equity backing in late 2018 before the rebrand. Erwin knew the opportunity. He was, after all, former co-president of Acxiom’s marketing services business and the longtime president of Experian’s targeting products before that.

Adstra alleges its data licensing agreement with Kinesso forbade the agency from launching a competitive identity resolution product, but that Kinesso breached its contract and conspired with Acxiom to do just that.

Chad Engelgau, Erwin’s former boss at Acxiom, became global chief data scientist at Kinesso after IPG bought Acxiom in 2018. Engelgau then became global CEO of Acxiom within IPG. He left IPG in January, though, and is now CEO of a fundraising company for nonprofits.

Apple’s Nuclear Football

Apple has tightened the screws quite a bit on data-driven advertising. But there’s still more, uh, screwing, it could do.

One biggie, which Eric Seufert dubs a “nuclear option” in a Mobile Dev Memo post, would be to expand iCloud Private Relay, a product that obfuscates email and IP addresses, to all iOS devices by default.

The IP address would overnight cease to be a widely useful identity data signal, including for fingerprinting. Meanwhile, the Conversion APIs pioneered by Google and Meta – which circumvent Apple’s privacy enforcement by plugging into first-party servers – would become way less effective.

Seufert had predicted Apple would scupper Conversion APIs back in 2022, but still no word. (Mark your calendar for June 10 and pop some popcorn to see whether Apple makes any surprise announcements at the next WWDC.)

But Apple ain’t alone in targeting the IP address. Google has an API in the Android Privacy Sandbox that would hide a user’s IP address.

There isn’t enough popcorn in the world.

Not Playing Around

Roblox will introduce video ads to its platform later this year, with SSP PubMatic as go-to programmatic vendor, the WSJ reports.

Brands will be able to serve video ads to users who are at least 13 years old. Roblox, at least initially, will stick to private exchanges, which give it more oversight over ad pricing and buyers.

Despite its hit-game status, Roblox isn’t profitable. It mostly makes money on in-game currency, which people pay for directly by credit, debit or gift card.

To date, Roblox has mostly courted large brand advertisers, including Nike, Gucci, Chipotle and the NFL, that build virtual worlds on Roblox where they sell merchandise and even host events. Starting last year, brands could buy static billboard ads and Portal Ads, which take users between Roblox experiences.

But Roblox has clearly realized that advertising can be a cash cow and is stepping up its ad revenue goals. Aside from the new ad formats, Roblox has hired alumni from Meta, X, Alphabet and Yahoo to strengthen its ads business.

But Wait, There’s More!

Publishers are caught in the crosshairs of vendor MFA tools. [Adweek]

The Motion Picture Association has big plans to crack down on piracy (again). [The Verge]

Why TelevisaUnivision is bringing TikTok-style video to TV. [Ad Age]

Marketers seem unconvinced of a looming TikTok ban but are assembling contingency plans just in case. [Digiday]

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