AOP Launches AOP Protocol

AOP Launches AOP Protocol
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This article originally appeared in InPublishing on May 13, 2019.

The Association for Online Publishing (AOP) has announced the launch of the AOP Protocol that aims to reduce risk and create greater transparency in the age of GDPR.

Richard Reeves: “The AOP Protocol provides publishers with the means to reinforce industry standards and regulations.”

This includes the second phase of the AOP Cookie Consortium programme, which was launched in November 2018 in partnership with The Media Trust.

The creation of the AOP Protocol was driven by the close working relationship with the legal and commercial leads at AOP’s news group members, momentum built through the successes of the GDPR working group, and extensive consultation with AOP members, media agency buying groups, technology leaders, and trade bodies including ISBA and IPA, says the AOP.

The Protocol is designed to be a declaration of the compliant terms and obligations required concerning the deployment of cookies, tags, pixels, and other technologies, for the fulfilment of advertising activities on publishers’ sites. It encourages vendors to acknowledge and accept the Protocol, and declare any technology used on publisher platforms beyond the scope of advertising verification and attribution, for GDPR purposes.

To distribute and implement the Protocol, AOP is working in partnership with The Media Trust to provide a platform – the Cookie Consortium – for sharing information and improving transparency between publishers and vendors. The Media Trust’s digital vendor risk management platform enables publishers to identify and understand the purpose of cookies deployed on their pages, and to prompt further enquiry or action if suspicious activity is flagged.

AOP and The Media Trust have been working with vendors and agencies to categorise and describe cookies, and populate the platform. The AOP Protocol and Cookie Consortium will be rolled out to all UK publishers, not just AOP members, on 8th May 2019. To date, they have identified 5,000+ cookies from 1,000+ vendors.

As well as providing a shared pool of insight for publishers and the ability to confirm vendors’ stance to the AOP Protocol, the Cookie Consortium helps reduce the risk to vendors that their cookies will be blocked. It also significantly reduces the time and effort vendors would have to invest in disclosing cookies to publishers individually.

News UK’s Commercial Director for Publishing, Ben Walmsley, said: “We’re pleased to have worked with the AOP on drafting the protocols for another positive change in the media industry. Premium publishers have a unique responsibility to drive transparency and accountability in the marketplace and this move will do just that.”

Lolly Mason, VP Media Partnerships, EMEA at Celtra Inc said: “The AOP Protocol and Cookie Consortium are inspiring initiatives that support trust and transparency between vendors and publishers. Publishers can now easily view and manage details of all external tracking on their properties via a single location, providing vital control and reassurance – and as vendors, we now have a fantastically simple way to provide that clarity and reassurance (via The Media Trust’s platform) to multiple partners at once, and with minimum duplication of work.”

Richard Reeves, Managing Director at AOP commented: “The AOP Protocol provides publishers with the means to reinforce industry standards and regulations – including the GDPR – when working with vendors and agencies, and minimise the risk around rogue cookie, tag, and pixel deployment on their sites. By working with The Media Trust and introducing the Cookie Consortium, we can arm all UK publishers with the essential information needed to understand, assess, and manage risk as we strive towards a better, safer, and more transparent ecosystem for all.”

Chris Olson, CEO, The Media Trust, said: “The AOP Cookie Consortium Programme is a sterling example of how players across the digital supply chain can work together on achieving what was previously thought impossible: data control, security, and privacy while increasing revenue within the digital ecosystem. If there ever was a silver bullet to address the internet’s myriad of issues, this type of collaboration would be it. It’s a GDPR solution that actually works.”