Google scraps 12-vendor cap on GDPR consent tool for publishers

With the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) now in full swing, Google has made a surprising u-turn on its consent management platform (CMP) policy.

The Alphabet-owned search giant has scrapped what was a 12-vendor limit for publishers that used its Funding Choices CMP, used to gain the consent of users to access their data to improve ad personalisation in line with new European data regulations.

The former policy was applied based on tests by Google which found users are more likely to opt-in when fewer vendors are listed in the consent pop-up, becoming negligible when this figure is more than 12.

In efforts to balance this, however, Google’s CMP will now allow users to click through to vendors’ individual policy pages, before selecting a ‘Yes/No’ option for consent as with the previous iteration.

Mixed reception

The surprise reversal was described as a “monster win” by one industry news outlet, having put heavy restrictions on the number of publishers’ third-party integrations vying for integration (which can often run into the hundreds), in what members previously thought was a play by Google to accrue more power and undermine the “open ecosystem”.

Others have regarded Google’s move as a caving in of pressure to align its consent framework more closely with that of the IAB’s (Interactive Advertising Bureau), in the wake of wider concerns about its potential to hamper innovation within ad tech.

Speaking to AdAge, CEO of publisher trade body Digital Content Next, Jason Kint, called the turn-around a “sad attempt” to win over the ad tech industry while continuing to maintain dominance of the supply chain.

A spokesperson for Google, meanwhile, claimed the decision was based on both publisher feedback and discourse with the IAB, and that Funding Choices had been operating in beta, and as such, was never finalised.

– by Mark Jones

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