If you haven’t heard the name spider.io before, it is likely you are not alone. Like many good European ad technology companies, they have been flying under the radar. However, quietly but surely, they are building the technology which could change the way ad viewability is measured, and which could, in fact, bring viewability measurement to every ad impression across the industry.
For those unaware, the ad viewability space is pretty messy. In August, it was reported that comScore had launched a patent infringement lawsuit against three ad verification companies: AdSafe, DoubleVerify and MOAT. At the heart of this lawsuit are a set of patents controlled by comScore (but actually owned by Nielsen. See? It’s messy…) that govern an approach to measuring ad viewability used by almost everyone in the industry. In the industry this is termed the geometric approach. It involves comparing the size and the position of the ad against the size and the scroll position of the browser’s viewport. The result is a measure of whether the ad is within the browser’s viewport, and accordingly viewable.
The messiness doesn’t end here. Not only is there a fight for control over the geometric approach to measuring ad viewability, the geometric approach is also unable to measure the viewability of all ad impressions. Because of a particular browser security policy, named the ‘same origin policy’, the information needed for the geometric approach isn’t readily available when ads are served in unfriendly (cross-domain) iframes. This has meant that some companies have resorted to exploiting ‘security holes’, for example, across Internet Explorer. However, the hacks these companies have been employing stop short at WebKit-based browsers, like Chrome and Safari. When ads are embedded in unfriendly iframes, the geometric approach doesn’t work across these browsers.
This is why you will likely hear more of spider.io in the coming months. Their technology claims to safely see through unfriendly iframes across ALL major browsers. Theirs is a new approach to measuring ad viewability that is already being adopted by major networks and exchanges (more announcements planned soon). In the newest release, spider.io’s CEO, Douglas de Jager, mentioned: “We have built the industry’s first comprehensive viewability measurement technology and we encourage all prospective partners to confirm our bold claim for themselves. Testing can typically be wrapped up within the day.” spider.io’s technology is patent-pending and apparently very different from the geometric approach. If granted, it is conceivable to suggest there will be two major providers of technology: spider.io and comScore — the David vs Goliath battle is certainly on.Global Desk Editor