Responding to publisher outcry, Google is reversing its decision to cap the consent gathered through its consent management platform (CMP) Funding Choices to 12 ad tech vendors.
Funding Choices started out as an anti-ad-blocking monetizing tool. Google announced last month that it would expand its capabilities to include use as a CMP to help publishers stay compliant with the consent-gathering requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into full force at the end of May. The tool is still in beta.
Publishers voiced concern that Google was limiting the amount of ad tech supply chain partners they could use. Google met with a group of publishers about this and other issues in late May. In a follow-up letter to the publishers after that meeting, Google’s Bonita Stewart, vice president, global partnerships, said:
We don’t want to control how you get consent. You have many options to get consent, and pass that consent to Google. In terms of actual consent solutions, this is not a matter of one-size-fits-all. We have developed an option for publishers (Funding Choices) to consider and we are also supportive of publishers and ad technology providers using many different approaches to get consent.
A Google spokesperson provided the following on Friday:
Based on industry and customer feedback, we have decided to remove the 12-vendor limit for publishers that use Funding Choices to obtain user consent on their website. Moving forward, publishers can choose however many vendors they want to list.
Marketers applaud the move
Eyal Katz, senior marketing manager for Namogoo’s GDPR Insights group, told me “it was a positive decision by Google and a step in the right direction for the digital publishing and ad tech industries as a whole.”
Katz said that Google’s initial proposal was not in the spirit of GDPR.
Google was well aware that the EU had placed a target on its back, and limiting Funding Choices, Google’s CMP, to 12 vendors introduced several issues. First, GDPR was, in part, meant to limit the power that companies like Google have by limiting their access to personal information. It was never the intent of the GDPR to make Google more powerful.
Second, by limiting Google’s CMP to 12 vendors, Google was taking an approach to GDPR compliance not unlike the approach we take when a hurricane is about to hit. We lock the doors, barricade the windows, go down to the basement, and wait for it to blow over … But unlike a hurricane, GDPR is here to stay. It is not in Google’s best interests for the ad tech industry to experience extreme upheaval.