T&P’s Hornby leads the charge as Google’s Brittin resists outside ad verification

Here’s The&Partnership’s Johnny Hornby on the trail of Google and Facebook again, in one of his regular appearances on Sky News. He wants Google and Facebook to decide whether they’re “platforms” or “publishers” (publishers are legally responsible for their content of course) and to allow all their content, especially their inappropriate stuff, to be verified by third parties before it’s ad-enabled.

All very sensible and Google’s Matt Brittin only inched towards such a solution, if indeed it be, speaking at Advertising Week Europe yesterday. He still wants Google, in Hornby’s words, to “mark its own homework.” Even Brittin’s solution, more internal checks, is likely to be expensive as it means a lot more people. Allowing third party verifiers and others into Google and Facebook’s precious “walled gardens” would rock the foundations of their business.

Hornby and his ultimate boss WPP’s Sir Martin Sorrell (WPP owns 49 per cent of T&P and, crucially, its GroupM media mega-company provides the heavy lifting for T&P’s go-go media agency m/SIX) are definitely leading the charge against Google and Facebook, like two marshals chasing a bunch of outlaws: Rooster Cogburn and Texas ranger La Boeuf in the original True Grit perhaps.

Sorrell once said Google was his “frenemy.” You can remove the first two consonants these days. Apparently Sorrell blames Google and YouTube for the current Jaguar Land Rover global media review. JLR was the first advertiser to pull ads from YouTube when the scandal broke. Ouch – for somebody.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.