Rubicon Project and LiveIntent Join Up for Open Identity Initiative

Ad tech's search for an open ID in a post-cookie world continues

Everyone in the ad-tech world is racing to create the next ID tool as the cookie is on its way out. Getty Images
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Independent ad-tech companies LiveIntent and Rubicon Project have inked an agreement to help media traders do business on a non-cookie-based ID.

The tie-up uses LiveIntent’s Authenticated Bridge—an identifier that connects advertisers to relevant publisher audiences using hashed email addresses—to aid media buying and selling in a manner similar to the third-party cookie.

Additionally, Authenticated Bridge allows media traders to predict the primary email that is associated with a specific device or browser by connecting it with a host of first-party data signals.

Prior to global pandemics and mass civil rights protests, ad tech’s 2020 was defined by the race to replace the cookie after the largest internet browser in the business, Google Chrome, announced it will phase out the tech by 2022.

Google is still on course to implement its planned updates, which will align it with fellow web browsers Firefox and Safari. Although Google is not a first-mover, Chrome’s market share of almost 50% of all installed internet browsers means major hardship for the industry, with some predicting that it could mean the end for many independent ad-tech players.

However, in the interim, the industry has been making efforts to forge a path forward for the $130 billion industry, which must adapt to an era in which privacy regulators are catching up with online monitoring technologies.

LiveIntent works with more than 2,000 publishers and 1,000 advertisers, but CEO Matt Keiser described the Authenticated Bridge Solution as a “non-ID” because it is open, meaning anyone can adopt it.

“So, we haven’t made it something you need to sign a contract in order to adopt,” he told Adweek. “Additionally, our ID is 1:1 with an [anonymized] email address.”

This means LiveIntent does not encrypt its identifier per user, unlike other proprietary ID providers on the market that operate a “hub and spoke model,” which makes it difficult for advertisers to work directly with publishers, according to Keiser.

Since Apple and Mozilla began to implement their restrictions on third-party cookies, publishers have struggled to monetize web traffic coming through such platforms, with Keiser explaining that his bridge technology can help offset such woes.

“Publishers have the best inventory in the world, but if you can’t target or do attribution, it’s like having an island with no bridges to it,” he added.

Garrett McGrath, vp of product management at Rubicon Project, described the Authenticated Bridge framework as “reliable, transparent and streamlined.”

“In addition to helping publishers make their inventory more accessible and useful to advertisers, people-based identifiers improve the end user’s digital media experience,” he added in a statement.

Google is forging ahead with its own ID tech and other solutions under its Privacy Sandbox initiative, but some in the wider industry are calling for more diverse governance amid concerns it will result in the continued dominance of the duopoly of Google and Facebook (with Amazon hot on their heels).

Meanwhile, a number of different IDs from independent players have also emerged as a replacement for the third-party cookie, with AT&T and publicly listed ad-tech players such as LiveRamp and The Trade Desk eager to promote their offerings.

Separately, U.K.-based ID5 is also aiming to achieve widespread adoption of its matching technology, with CEO Mathieu Roche earlier explaining to Adweek how publishers are seeking “neutral, specialized alternatives” to bespoke IDs from specific vendors whose business models depend on take-rates or signing up partners to additional licenses.

“By reducing the amount of matching technology on their pages, publishers can speed up their load times through reducing the amount of pixels,” Roche added.

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