After much anticipation the ADM (Association for Downloadable Media) has released two proposed guidelines and standards: Advertisement Unit Standards and Downloadable Measurement Guidelines. Both documents (available here) weigh in at just 3 pages and are open for public comment. If the new media advertising space is important to you I suggest you pay attention, the ADM presumes to speak for you. That said, I have to tell you, I read them both and wondered where was the rest – the important part? Looking at the “Downloadable Measurement Guidelines” I can sum it up in three words “use Apache logs.” We’ve always know that, what a let down.
What the ADM completely avoided (and it appears this is intentional) is the huge elephant standing in the corner of the room: what counts as a listen/view? Does 33% file delivery count for delivery of a pre-roll? 60% for a mid-roll? Is 100% file delivery required to count as a “complete” view/listen? How are automated downloads counted, i.e. what discount metric is used for iTunes subscriptions to determine a consumption metric over delivery? How are multiple requests from a single IP address counted? All of that, the important part, is left up to the company or producer you are dealing with. Put simply, we are exactly in the same spot as before: use your Apache logs.
When I see “standard” and “guidelines” I expect just that but these documents completely miss the mark. I don’t know if they expect the producer community to provide the important part via the comment period or if they will just completely avoid it.
This is a simple leadership issue. There are some smart folks at the helm of the ADM, but I was surprised that they allowed these documents to be released as their first “official” step into the arena. The ADM has been terrific at PR, but that is not their core responsibility, this stuff is. Bottom line, the ADM needs to take a stand, put up with the flack and develop a complete standard. It won’t be friendly, people will have cross words and it might upset some of the “Board of Advisors” and “Committee Chairs” who have proprietary approaches but that is the real work that needs to be done. When it comes time for the heavy lifting – the ADM can’t drop the ball like this.
Now granted, I’m not a member and I didn’t run for the board. When asked, I chose not to, only so many projects I can do at one time. I take this stuff seriously and only agree to participate when I know that I can give something the attention it deserves. Believe me, this stuff is important. I know in some sense I’m being critical when I could have contributed. But to be plain, these documents are open for public comment – I hope they’ll consider mine.