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Announcing the formation of an independent Prebid.org

This week, we’re pleased to announce the formation of
Prebid.org: an
independent organization dedicated to open source tools that drive
publisher monetization.

We sat down with
Michael Richardson to
answer a few questions about why
Prebid.org is
being launched as an independent entity and what it means for
publishers and vendors. Michael is a Product Line Manager at
AppNexus and Chairman of
Prebid.org.

What’s the background on Prebid.org?

Prebid.js has been a
transformative piece of technology for our industry. It makes it a lot
easier for publishers to do header bidding, choose which demand
partners they want to work with, and quickly add new ones at will.

Given how much header bidding has benefited the digital ecosystem –
including advertisers and consumers – we want to bring it to as many
different publishers and vendors as possible. It’s so important to us
that, rather than backing a proprietary solution, we want it to be a
group effort. We want to work together with the rest of the industry
to keep driving header bidding adoption and effectiveness.

That’s why we’re launching
Prebid.org: a
coalition to champion open-source header bidding and its ongoing
development. Prebid.org
will act as an independent voice on how publishers should interact
with programmatic, help ensure that header bidding remains fair and
transparent across all parties affiliated with Prebid, and continue to
develop and work on features like we do today.

Why are openness and transparency so important with header bidding?

We’ve governed Prebid in an open-source manner since the beginning of
the project, so thematically, this is nothing new. The Prebid.org
coalition allows us to make this a more concerted group effort. We can
bring together talent from different ad tech providers and solve
problems together, rather than work on them independently or focus
only on our own companies’ offerings.

But let me also answer your bigger question about why openness is so
crucial to the Prebid project in general. One of the core benefits of
Prebid – and header bidding in general – is that it allows every
advertiser an equal chance at every impression. Open-sourcing Prebid
makes it easy for everyone to see that there aren’t any tricks or
biases happening in the wrapper, proving to users that the benefit is
really there.

Beyond that, open-sourcing Prebid makes it easier for the industry to
adapt as it changes, since the users of Prebid are the ones driving
new features and functionality. It’s also made it easy for new
companies to work with Prebid. There are over 80 demand partners with
adapters available for Prebid, and
multiple analytics companies
who have built extensions for Prebid. Only an open-source project can
reach such broad adoption.

I think you see these values – fairness, adaptability, openness to new
partners – reflected most in Prebid.org’s
Wrapper Code of Conduct. The
code is a set of rules and principles that govern how we think all
wrappers should operate. We want to build a consensus around what
wrappers should and should not be doing so that publishers and demand
partners can trust that their wrappers are treating them fairly.

Who is part of Prebid.org?

We’re launching with Rubicon Project to
start. They’ve contributed a ton
to Prebid already – some great additions to the project have come from
the AppNexus and Rubicon Project teams working together.

Moving forward, we envision many other partners joining
Prebid.org. SSPs,
analytics providers
pretty much any ad tech vendor who works with publishers and supports
header bidding will likely come into contact with Prebid at some
point. We’d welcome any of them to join Prebid.org and collaborate
with us.

Should current Prebid users expect any changes?

There will be no changes to functionality in the short term. In the
long term, we hope that users will see Prebid continue to get better
and better. Getting more people involved is the best way to foster the
creation of more tools to support more use cases and generally ensure
Prebid is easy to use.

Any parting tips for publishers using header bidding?

Header bidding has unlocked huge revenue gains for publishers, but
they need to stay on top of the latest trends to keep getting the most
out of it. I have two key tips for publishers to set themselves up for
long-term success with header bidding.

First, don’t just use header bidding for display only. Channels like
video and
mobile app are really heating up
right now, and header bidding can make them even more lucrative for
publishers.

My second piece of advice would be to put a lot of thought into the
demand partners you work with. As the existence of our
Wrapper Code of Conduct
suggests, we as an industry have nailed down the basic criteria for
what a wrapper ought to do. The next problem every publisher needs to
solve is building a roster of partners who bring them unique demand
without compromising user experience.

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