Questionable practices such as bid caching and auction manipulation recently came to light, which has caused a considerable strain on the supply side, particularly when it comes to the erosion of trust between clients and vendors. Sizmek made a distinct pledge toward transparency to marketers to keep trust at the forefront of our relationships—in fact, we dubbed 2018 the “Year of Total Transparency,” and our product upgrades and releases have reflected this mission. As part of Sizmek’s continuing commitment to total transparency, we are spelling out exactly what is expected from our DSP supply partners, which will be a requirement to work with us.


Publishing partners share a similar viewpoint. Brendan Cleary, Vice President of Programmatic Sales and Ad Operations at Guardian U.S. states: “The Guardian has been at the forefront of the transparency movement and continues to advocate for a fair and balanced programmatic marketplace.  While we understand the growing challenges in regulating an automated environment; we respect and value the partnerships we share with vendors who are actively calling for positive change.”

How things stand now for supply-side partners

A DSP supply partner’s key role is toward providing the “cleanest” path to brand-safe, non-bot media for marketers via a fair auction. Instead, some supply-side partners have been gamifying auctions, bid caching, breaking DSP infrastructure with multi-bids for the same impression,  using non-direct ad network resellers, allowing unauthorized traffic, and so on—the list is nearly endless. These practices have eroded the trust of marketers, who don’t accept explanations of why opaque auctions and tactics have led to dilution in their efforts to reach their consumers. It has caused some of the largest brands and agencies in the world to tell Sizmek that they are reconsidering whether programmatic is “worth the headache.” Obviously, the situation is important to resolve, and Sizmek’s mission is to maintain the highest level of transparency so marketers can still benefit from the incredible efficiency and scale that programmatic offers— without “the headaches.”

Sizmek’s approach to supply side

Sizmek gives buyers the tools they need to help optimize the path toward the best supply while ensuring the overall integrity of our ecosystem. For example, we provide ad format-specific enhancements for ads.txt and seat-level supply path targeting controls designed to empower buyers and hold supply partners accountable. Additionally, we are defining explicitly our supply-side policies that provide clear, fair, and transparent guidelines as to what we expect our supply partners to follow as their code of conduct.

Sizmek’s supply-side policy specifics

  • Sizmek supply partners will provide a full transparent list of the supply, including a list of their direct publishers and resellers, along with publisher and resellers’ unique identifiers used in auction.
  • Sizmek supply partners will provide a full list of publishers for their resellers / ad network partners.
  • Sizmek supply partners will provide a full view of fees charged for each publisher and ad network partner.
  • Sizmek supply partners will submit to periodic audits of processed auctions from bid to win to publisher payment, providing full transparency into floors, winning bids, and payments.
  • Sizmek supply partners will not use multi-bidding tactics with different bid floors for the same impression to pick the highest bid value submitted.
  • Sizmek supply partners will not have artificial different floors by DSP.
  • Sizmek supply partners will not clear the second price auction as a first price auction if the auction type is not set as “1.”
  • Sizmek supply partners will not manipulate Publisher set floors to any increased value using any tactic for Sizmek for any auction type.
  • Sizmek supply partners will always declare the domain and will not send masked domains not associated to the end publisher.
  • Sizmek supply partners will only use the bid responses for the auction it was intended for in real-time and will not use bid caching.
  • Sizmek supply partners will not use the bid response value from one wrapper into another wrapper nor unduly manipulate competition within wrappers
  • Sizmek supply partners will not manipulate cookie ids or device ids or employ any other modification tactics that are outside of OpenRTB specification
  • Sizmek supply partners will verify their supply using accredited partners such as Peer39 for fraud and non-brand safe content.
  • Sizmek supply partners will facilitate blocking of supply by publisher or ad network as requested by the DSP.

Transparency is an integral part of our client-first approach, and that extends to how we work with partners. These guidelines show how deep Sizmek’s commitment is to creating a transparent environment that enables our clients to do their best work. Let us know if any aspect of these guidelines need clarification or if you have questions about how they apply in different scenarios.   

Reach out to your account rep or a Sizmek pro to learn more about how our DSP, ad server, and other products provide you with total transparency.

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