AdsML Specifications Progressing

By: E&P Staff AdsML Consortium members met in Antwerp, Belgium, earlier this month to approve plans for 2005, review liaison activities with other standards-development groups, hear reports on pilot AdsML installation projects, and elect officers.

The consortium is developing an open standard to unify and extend existing advertising standards and automate advertising business processes for all types of media, all stages of the lifecycle of an ad, and across all segments of the advertising industry worldwide.

Members also approved the Technical Working Group's standards-deliverables schedule, aiming at an October 2005 release date. Activities will center on adding capabilities to Framework specifications already approved or proposed, including AdsML Envelope, AdsML Bookings, Structured Descriptions, Advertising Component Interactions, and Content Delivery. Other content-related messages may be created as time and resources permit. New-development plans will focus on a standard for electronic invoicing.

L?ffler said that although new capabilities will be added, the group "must also get our foundation more firmly set. It is likely that the initial standards for online advertising bookings will address the pressing needs of magazine and newspaper Web sites, but delay the inclusion of other online media."

At the Antwerp meeting were representatives from IDEAlliance, a standards development organization, and the CIP4 organization, which is working up the Job Definition Format. "This signals," Iobst said, "the importance of developing an international standard that is compatible with related standards and protocols, and vice versa."

E-invoicing specifications "will complete the cycle that began with the AdsML Bookings standard," said Tony Stewart, director of consulting, New York-based RivCom Inc. Consulting director and chair of the AdsML Technical Working Group. "An e-invoice will reflect the final information that was agreed upon prior to ad publication, including actual pricing. It may also include information on where the ad was published and references to a digital tearsheet." The e-invoicing standard will not address payment -- a contract issue outside the scope of the e-commerce standards.

Other financial e-commerce documents in development include statements and payments. The e-statement will provide a publisher's current statement of account for the advertiser. The e-payment will inform a publisher about invoices to be paid and when payment will arrive or be available by EFT. The consortium also is looking at other e-commerce financial documents to determine how participants in the AdsML process might be able to use them.

So far, the AdsML Framework 1.0 Release 1 is approved and can be downloaded from Approval is pending for AdsML Framework 2.0, Proposed Standard 1 (published last October and available at the same Web site). The AdsML Bookings Specification enables advertisers and publishers to query, make, and confirm ad space reservations for ads appearing in newspapers and magazines.

CREST 2.0, AdConnexion 2.0, and SpaceXML standards were merged to define the Booking Standard in AdsML e-commerce exchange specifications. The Newspaper Association of America's CREST governs exchange of data about classified display and liner ads. SpaceXML, co-owned by the NAA and IdeaAlliance, supports display advertising. Developed for the European market, Ifra's AdConnexion is for display advertising.

Elected for the consortium's 2005-2006 working year are: Chair: Harald L?ffler, research manager for Ifra, the international association for newspaper and media publishing, Darmstadt, Germany; Vice Chair: John Iobst, a vice president of the Newspaper Association of America, Vienna, Va.; Treasurer: Jack Knadjian, manager, strategic business development/newspapers, Agfa-Gevaert, Antwerp, Belgium.


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