OpenRTB Townhall: A Smashing Success


When I co-founded the OpenRTB Consortium late last year, I could not have predicted that it would grow to be as important and influential as it has become.  The success is exemplified by the incredible OpenRTB Town Hall discussion that took place on October 5th in New York City. Gathering more than 150 senior executives from both the demand-side and sell-side of the ad tech space, the frank, honest debate moderated by Digiday’s Brian Morrissey proved that OpenRTB represents more than just a technical standard for communication within the RTB ecosystem – it’s the manifestation of an industry-wide need for reducing technical barriers for ensuring high-quality, brand-safe, reliable ad inventory at scale.

The event took place at the beautiful NASDAQ MarketSite building in Times Square, a very appropriate location given that it’s the birthplace of electronic trading – the forebear of real-time bidding for digital media. One of the premiere hot tickets during Advertising Week, the waitlist for the session had twice as many people as could fit in the MarketSite event space, underscoring the ad tech industry’s fervent desire for a standard that will make the “bread and butter” of our business – interconnections – simple, easy, and reliable. This is key to making digital media easier to buy.

OpenRTB has grown rapidly in the past year, with 35 companies actively using the standard to increase the consistency of the RTB experience for advertisers and publishers alike. Many other companies, including Google, are considering joining the consortium.  We were delighted that Scott Spencer, Google’s ADX Group Product Manager, attended the session and actively participated in the discussion around the importance of open standards and OpenRTB’s implications for the future.

The highlight of the night was the announcement from IAB President & CEO Randall Rothenberg that the IAB is going to assume project management of OpenRTB moving forward. We expect the project to mirror the IAB’s successful VAST project for open video standards, where the IAB provided management support and outreach in coordination with technical direction from advertising technology leaders. We are thrilled that the IAB is involved to help us take OpenRTB to the next level towards industry-wide adoption.

It’s been a privilege to collaborate with peers from the 80 companies who have signed up as co-developers for OpenRTB. Thanks to all of OpenRTB’s member organizations and to its new management team at the IAB. Here’s to continued success for all!

–Willard Simmons, CTO, DataXu