Thought Leadership is committed to open source header bidding

October 3, 2017
By Pieter de Zwart

The current programmatic landscape is both expansive and ripe with potential; flooded with technical capabilities and monetary opportunities for sellers and buyers alike. Never before has our industry’s mission, to deliver quality advertising to select consumers at scale, been as simultaneously simple and complex as it is now.

The Fragmented Header World

Header bidding technology was created to offer publishers efficiency and transparency, but in its immature state, it has in many ways brought them the opposite. A sea of providers with proprietary technologies, black-box auctions — and in some cases quick turnover — have often limited the ability of publishers and buyers to build upon and further develop their stacks, instead opting to rip-out and replace their setups sometimes more than once in a given fiscal year. Over the past 2 years, Rubicon Project has integrated with, tested, and measured many different types of integrations and configurations. It became clear that there must be a better way for our industry to mature and continue its growth without these pain points, and when we found the initial prebid.js release, we knew that this was a framework on top of which we could build.

“The formation of marks a crucial step forward in the push for industry-wide adoption of open-source header bidding technologies.”

— Tom Kershaw, Chief Technology Officer, Rubicon Project and a director of

As we discussed at length in our Open Source White Paper last spring, the header bidding wrapper represents a critical intersection in the advertising monetization chain. For the industry to grow and develop in the world of header bidding, the wrapper must exist as a neutral and transparent piece of technology that affords neither the operator nor any other partner a particular advantage or disadvantage. This inherent lack of bias enables free competition and unlocks the greatest possibilities for each impression. A Solution for the Industry

Publishers looking to find a long-term solution to the ever-changing header-bidding landscape, but who also want to ensure against unfair dynamics, poor decisioning, and slow updates, have had to make significant trade-offs when choosing a header bidding management partner. That is why we’re pleased to announce the launch of, an independent consortium of prominent programmatic players in the adtech community that have come together to ensure and promote fair, transparent and efficient header bidding across the industry. By joining, we are committed to developing and promoting open-source header bidding solutions and other open-source tools to drive publisher monetization.

The open source model pushed by has already proven itself to resolve a slew of the other issues as well. This model means industry-wide development and support, not incompatibility. It means upgrades, not full replacements. Most importantly, it means publishers can feel confident that the technology stack they develop will continue to reward them over time; growing to their needs instead of restricting their ingenuity.

As sellers increasingly move ad monetization to the server-side, Prebid Server provides the flexibility to test server-side without compromising quality client-side integrations, the standardization to instill confidence that the technology will grow with the industry over time, and the transparency to move us all forward in a fair and scalable manner. With the open source format set as our gold standard, we can finally focus on enabling true competition by providing quality exchange experiences for sellers and buyers alike. We are truly excited about the potential of the consortium.

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