"This is just a bet, but is it trying to address the larger question of whether the digital advertising business will be more like the open internet, open to many, or will it be dominated by a few walled gardens?" Said Randall Rothenberg, CEO of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, who is aware of the initiative but is not directly involved. Almost all the source participants, as well as Google and Facebook, are members of the trading group.
"We are trying to break the black box and compete in a different playing field than the enclosed gardens," said Mark Zagorski, CEO of Telaria, a company whose software is used by digital TV services such as Hulu and Sling to maximize ad revenue .
It will take time to move to more open digital advertising markets, give buyers and sellers good information on prices and auctions, said Chris Guenther, senior vice president of News Corporation, which owns the Wall Street Journal and The New York Post.
"But this initiative is a step in the right direction – towards openness," Guenther said.
Even without Google and Facebook, the companies say the effort can help open the digital advertising industry because it is in line with market demand.
"Buyers and sellers want to take more control of their business," said Adam Soroca, CEO of Rubicon Project, which provides tools for buyers and sellers of digital ads.
MediaMath has had discussions with Google about possibly joining the initiative, but not Facebook, the company says.