AdsML Standard — Opening an Envelope

The specification will provide standardized electronic processes for all sectors of the advertising industry. Its use will shorten deadlines and time to market, reduce errors, improve communication, save time and money, and enhance business relationships. The effect on media environments will be profound.

Under AdsML, inventory, insertion and billing processes will be streamlined, and business operations will become more efficient and accurate. The XML-based standard will not—yes, not—replace existing standards (such as SpaceXML and AdConnexion; see sidebars), but will build upon them and extend their reach, encourage convergence when they overlap and plug gaps between their specifications.

Technically, AdsML is an envelope that essentially relies on existing standards to describe both the content and the metadata carried within advertising transactions.

Where does AdsML originate? The new standard is being developed by the AdsML Consortium, an international group of organizations and companies that serve the printing, electronic and digital publishing industries. Among the consortium’s supporters are Ifra, an international association for media publishing; and the Newspaper Association of America (NAA). A growing list of industry members include Agfa, Associated Newspapers, CCI Europe, Datox, Engage, IPA Systems, Iware, Media24, ppi Media, Quickcut, RivCom Ltd., Rosetta and Vio Worldwide.

Tony Stewart, director of consulting at RivCom in London and chair of the technical working group that is designing the standard, states: “It’s the combination of the three components that make up the AdsML framework—business process definitions, guidelines and recommendations—that will provide the compelling value to the industry. Together, they will give us a framework within which industry members can agree on the types of information that should be exchanged in digital form and the XML standard best suited for each type. We’ll then be able to put those agreements into practice,” he explains. Until now, it hasn’t even been possible to have this conversation on a global scale, much less implement the results, adds Stewart.

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