3 Ad-Tech Stories You Need to Know This Week

Google called out over ad fraud inaction, Mediaocean owners explore sale, Oracle unveils its CDP offering

This week in ad tech, a Virginia senator calls on Google to better police its app store; a PE firms seeks the sale of Mediaocean; and Oracle introduces CX Unity.
Headshot of Ronan Shields

Last week, BuzzFeed published an article exposing security deficits that leave the Android app ecosystem vulnerable to fraud, prompting politicians to call Google out over its relative inaction over policing its app store Play. Meanwhile, amid an anticipated wave of further mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in the space, reports emerged that private equity (PE) outfit Vista Equity wants to sell Mediaocean.

Senator Warner calls on Google to better police its app store

A BuzzFeed investigation into how Android apps available in the Google Play store were embroiled in a multimillion-dollar ad fraud scheme has prompted Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) to voice concern over Google’s inaction.

The original investigation alleged that bad actors attempted to defraud advertisers by purchasing moderately popular Android apps and that they deliberately targeted the platform due to its less stringent review process than the iOS equivalent.

In an open letter dated Oct. 25, the Virginia senator called on both Google and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to highlight “Google’s inattention to misconduct within its app store.”

“Google’s inattention to misconduct within its app store also enabled the extensive fraud involved here,” reads the letter.

“In addition to failing to notify users of the change in ownership, Google failed to detect changes in the apps that facilitated extensive user tracking subsequently used for bot behavior.”

Anti-fraud outfit Pixalate has defined the activity as “bundle ID spoofing” and estimates that in-app mobile ad fraud costs as much as $75 million, with many asserting that ad-tech outfits trading in large volumes of traffic are often complicit in the problem.

PE firms seeks Mediaocean sale

The Wall Street Journal reported that Vista Equity Partners is seeking a $1.5 billion sale of media booking outfit Mediaocean with the PE firm reportedly appointing Morgan Stanley to explore such a sale.

Neither party commented publicly on the reports, which cite sources close to the developments, and also touted fellow PE outfits or strategic buyers in the space as potential suitors.

Mediaocean provides billing software for the media business, helping customers to track and redeem payment for advertising trades and helps process more than $150 billion per year in ad spend.

Earlier this year, it announced plans to roll out a blockchain-enabled network aimed at improving transparency in the programmatic media trading space.

Vista Equity, which recently pocketed its share of the $4.75 billion Marketo purchase by Adobe, purchased Mediaocean in 2015 and in June of this year announced its intention to buy online ad transparency outfit Integral Ad Science.

Oracle unveils CX Unity to improve brand understanding

As the latest trench of vendor-hosted conferences comes to a close, Oracle used the opening day of its offering to unveil its customer data platform, which it hopes will help marketers better interpret their disparate data points.

Oracle CX Unity will help marketers deliver the “most consistent experiences” across inconsistent customer journeys, according to Rob Tarkoff, general manager and evp, Oracle CX Cloud. “Today’s consumers are fickle and nomadic, and as a result, data and insights are constantly in motion. That’s why we are taking a unique, data-first approach that can help brands eliminate their blind spots and make every customer interaction matter,” he added.

Additionally, the enterprise software giant also used its Oracle OpenWorld bazaar to unveil a premium subscription management tool to better help organizations—such as publishers—generate and manage recurring revenue streams.

The launch of Oracle Subscription Management helps businesses operate hybrid product and service/subscription business models on the same platform, according to Rondy Ng, svp application development, Oracle.

@ronan_shields ronan.shields@adweek.com Ronan Shields is a programmatic reporter at Adweek, focusing on ad-tech.