FBX Cleans House–Sort Of: Shadow Access Allowed for Some

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True: Facebook delisted over 15 companies from Facebook Exchange and from now on just 12 companies have bragging rights about their access to the desktop news feed and right rail ad space, the components of the FBX inventory pool.

Also True: There’s a new set of players who get to live in the shadows: Back-channel access is allowed for more than 10 companies that seemed to have been dropped. The catch? They can’t tell customers and prospects about it.

We give a nod to AdExchanger: They confirmed that Adform, Adobe, DataXu, Conversant (owned by Epsilon), MyThings, PerfectAudience (owned by Marin) and Struq (owned by Quantcast) are among the companies still active on FBX.

Speculation about Facebook’s motives centers on revenue. Plus the fact that Facebook is trying to beef up its Custom Audiences Program. Those in the know theorize that Facebook eventually intends to replace FBX with self-serve interface and APIs. Until then Facebook has to rely on intermediaries like Criteo, Triggit and TellApart to serve those clients. It may also be that FBX is preserving back-channel FBX access for some alternative use cases, such as dynamic creative optimization, that it cannot yet support through its API.

But shadow access isn’t just an FBX ploy. Facebook’s API business has partners who have access to the API but aren’t given the “marketing partner” designation.

True Too:
We’ll all just have to stay tuned to see if we give it a Like or not.

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