Blog Post

GroupM ‘Leapfrogs’ Industry Concensus, Declares Its Online Ad Data ‘Confidential’

WPP’s GroupM has found the online ad industry’s efforts to update the seven-year-old terms and conditions — or “T&C’s” — plodding and has therefore decided to move ahead on its own, Mediapost reports. The most salient feature of GroupM’s pre-emptive strike deals with who owns the data generated or collected by a media company in placing an online ad. The current agreement is widely regarded as outdated. But GroupM’s solution will probably serve as a preliminary step in getting beyond the present regime, wherein the online data’s ownership shared by the publisher, advertiser and media buyer. But under GroupM’s revised terms, which are included in a 3,551-word add-on to the 5,723-word standard contract, the media buyer claims ownership of all data related to online ads, deeming it “confidential.”

No time to lose: John Montgomery, COO of GroupM Interaction, which manages WPP’s digital and interactive media buying and planning, tells Mediapost that the company has “millions of dollars” in online ad buys right now and can’t wait for the amended T&C to come from the Interactive Advertising Bureau and American Association of Advertising Agencies that is expected by the end of this year year. But the main reason behind this particular revision stipulating the confidentiality of the data collected and generated is to prevent rival ad companies from extracting the data and using it for their own campaigns. Insisting that the revision is not aimed at publishers, Montgomery believes that the ad side and the content side can come to an agreement on where to draw the line. Montgomery: “What clients are trying to protect is data that relates specifically to their campaigns and their brands. And what publishers are trying to protect is data that relates specifically to their sites.”