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Created: May 20, 2003.
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AdsML Consortium Creates Electronic Data Exchange Standard for Advertising Industry.

An announcement from the AdsML Consortium describes the development status of an XML-based AdsML 1.0 specification which "will support classified advertising, online advertising, including banner and pop-up advertising, and advertising that is part of the core content of a Web site, ROP advertising in print, inserts, mail advertising, and advertising by SMS, MMS or other mobile technologies." The first public version of AdsML 1.0 will be released at Ifra Expo 2003 in Leipzig, Germany. The AdsML Consortium was organized in the fall of 2002 following Expo 2002 in Barcelona. The AdsML initiative is supported by Ifra, the Newspaper Association of America (NAA) and Nihon Shinbun Kyokai (NSK). "The AdsML specification will define a set of business process models and related documentation that describes the business processes supported by AdsML, and includes a definition of common process models for the workflows of selected advertising classes. It will specify an 'AdsML Envelope' XML message format that enables the efficient packaging, transmission, verification [the process of verifying that transmitted content conforms to a formal or informal agreement between trading partners], validation [the process of validating that transmitted content conforms to the relevant standard], and routing of the advertising content and related metadata required in order to execute the AdsML Business Processes."

The AdsML Consortium was formed to create a "comprehensive, global standard for end-to-end advertising workflow. The initiative is supported by Ifra, an international association for media publishing, the Newspaper Association of America (NAA), and Nihon Shinbun Kyokai (NSK). In principle, AdsML covers the means by which data is exchanged for all kinds of advertising, in all media and through all stages of the lifecycle of an advertisement. AdsML will apply to all sectors of the advertising industry, enhance the efficiency of the advertising process and facilitate integration at systems and data levels. The proposed XML-based standard seeks to make the best use of other existing and forthcoming standards, while adding AdsML-specific support to crucial processes in the advertising lifecycle which are not now served. Membership in the consortium is open to organizations working in the advertising supply chain, software manufacturers, and related consultants and associations." Supporting companies include [2003-05]: Agfa, Associated Mediabase, CCI Europe, Engage, Iware, Mactive, Press Computer Systems, RivCom, Rosetta, and Vio Worldwide. [adapted from the Website homepage]

The Twofold Goal of the AdsML Initiative

An AdsML article by Dean Roper and Tony Stewart "AdsML Will Help Fill Gaps -- Quickly" explains the two specific goals of the AdsML Consortium, and elaborates upon the structure of the "Envelope" and "Response" messages first to be released. Excerpts (adapted):

The twofold goal of the AdsML initiative is to "(1) provide an XML packaging mechanism that allows business partners to exchange information in a more efficient way; (2) converge and rationalise the existing standards for such information (e.g., AdConnexion, SPACE/XML, CREST, etc.) in order to reduce overlaps and inconsistencies between them and ensure that there is a recognised way to interchange each type of required information."

The AdsML 1.0 spec targeted for release in October at IfraExpo 2003 in Leipzig "will take a big step toward simplifying the exchange of information by releasing standards for the AdsML 'Envelope' and 'Response' messages. See the diagram). This Envelope provides a straightforward or easy-to-implement packaging mechanism for exchanging advertising information in XML messages."

"When an organisation receives such a message, it can use the information in the Envelope header to perform the first line of required processing: make sure the message comes from a trusted sender, make sure that the types of information in it conform to any business agreements between the sender and recipient, make sure that it 'understands' and can process this information, and then prioritise and route the information to the appropriate internal systems (such as a booking system, a page layout system, or an accounting system). If the information in the Envelope does not meet the recipient's requirements, the AdsML Response mechanism will provide a standard format by which the recipient can inform the sender of the problem."

"The underlying design concept here is that the meaningful information or business objects (called 'AdsML Items') contained within an AdsML Envelope are themselves XML documents which could, in theory, have been sent as stand-alone messages. In fact, that's how they are arriving now in systems that have been built to support such messages, since of course there isn't any AdsML Envelope out there... The problem that arises is that as trading partners start exchanging more and more different kinds of messages, using various XML standards for them, it can be a huge and expensive hassle just to build routing systems that can receive all these different types of messages and decide what to do with each one. The Envelope and Response mechanisms in AdsML 1.0 make this problem go away by providing a standardised way to wrap each Item with the information necessary to verify and route it. Implementors can build this system just once, and know that each time they add a trading partner that is AdsML compliant, they don't have to tweak or rebuild their message routing systems."

From the AdsML Consortium Charter

AdsML Consortium Mission: "To create an internationally-adopted set of specifications and associated business processes for the electronic exchange of business information and content for advertising, to simplify and accelerate business interaction and facilitate use across multiple media in both current and future environments."

AdsML Consortium Vision Statement: "Advertisers and the media that distribute their content have a common interest in the use of effective business processes. The transition of these activities to an electronic environment based on computer-to-computer interaction will allow advertisers, the media and intermediaries to create value and reduce costs. Standardized electronic processes for handling booking and insertion orders, delivering intellectual property, rendering invoices, managing materials, and verifying use and transmission will shorten deadlines and time to market, save time and money, improve communication, reduce errors, enhance business relationships and create new opportunities."

AdsML Consortium Scope: "AdsML covers the workflow, file formats, and related information required to exchange advertising business documents and advertising content among advertisers, intermediaries, and media distributors. It covers the process areas of planning, ordering, material management, production, invoicing, and contract reconciliation including related change cycles. It is applicable to all media including print, broadcast, and online. AdsML is intended to be useful in local, regional, national, and international advertising activities. It is intended to be standards-based, flexible and extensible, including the ability to maintain relevant content lists without changing the specification."

AdsML Consortium Deliverables: "AdsML Consortium specifications may be in the form of XML structures with accompanying data definitions (e.g., XML DTDs, XML Schema, XML files) or using other standardized descriptive methods. The AdsML Consortium will deliver:

  • Specifications describing AdsML data formats and the processes that they support
  • Controlled vocabularies for specific uses of AdsML
  • Documentation: written documents explaining the Specifications
  • Recommendations for use of the Specifications
  • Sample files exemplifying the use of the Specifications

[adapted/excerpted from the website document]

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