ABC begins audits on emerging platforms

Last year, the Audit Bureau of Circulations found that ad buyers wanted third-party audits of emerging media platforms. Now, they're grabbing for a piece of that opportunity.

The Audit Bureau of Circulations has launched a digital technology accreditation program, an auditing service for emerging platforms, through its interactive unit ABCi. The program aims to bring transparency and accountability to interactive media, using industry standards and guidelines in line with the Interactive Advertising Bureau. The new program covers areas such as ad serving, e-newsletters, widgets, gaming platforms and other digital ad tech.

ABC president and managing director Michael J. Lavery says advertisers and media owners ‘have asked ABCi to provide independent verification of key metrics and processes.’ He adds the new program formalizes ABC’s involvement in the new media realm.

Two companies have already signed up for the program: Clearspring Technologies, a widget syndication and tracking service headquartered near Washington, DC; and AdJuggler, an online ad management company based in Alexandria, Virginia.

A Clearspring audit has already examined and tested counting methods used in the company’s widget metrics. Clearspring president and CEO Hooman Radfar calls the auditing process a ‘systematic and meticulous approach,’ adding that the program is ‘similar to web analytics but with additional requirements to track viral activity.’

AdJuggler’s audit will be conducted in July, following Interactive Advertising Bureau guidelines, and will review the company’s measurement methods, filtration procedures and other processes. AdJuggler EVP Jonathan Rivers says the audit ‘is an important undertaking for us.’

In a 2007 survey conducted for ABC, ad buyers indicated they would be more inclined to advertise in emerging forms of media if audited by an independent third party. The organization has 4,000 members in North America.