IAB Workshop Call for Papers: Exploring Synergy between Content Aggregation and the Publisher Ecosystem

IAB Executive Administrative Manager <execd@iab.org> Thu, 02 May 2019 21:54 UTC

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ESCAPE Workshop

Exploring Synergy between Content Aggregation and the Publisher 

An Internet Architecture Board workshop

In recent years, a number of proprietary formats have been defined to 
enable aggregators of news and other articles to republish Web 
resources; for example, Google’s AMP <https://amp.dev/>, Facebook’s 
Instant Articles <https://instantarticles.fb.com/>, Baidu’s MIP 
<https://github.com/mipengine/mip>, and Apple’s News Format 

These formats enable various improvements in end-user perceived 
performance, through techniques like pre-fetching content from the 
distributing site. Their deployment has raised a number of significant 
problems <https://w3ctag.github.io/distributed-content/>. Web Packaging 
<https://github.com/WICG/webpackage> is one proposal to address these 
issues, and may be suitable for other use-cases as well.

Packaging allows content to be presented to users as if it were obtained 
from the original site, no matter where it was actually fetched from. 
For example, a peer-to-peer network could exchange signed packages, or a 
Web search engine could serve them when a user clicks on a search 

In one reading, this is a form of modularization: it separates content 
serving from guarantees of authenticity and integrity. In theory, this 
could support new content distribution mechanisms, as authors and 
publishers could delegate their hosting to others while retaining some 
degree of control, due to their signing authority. It could also serve 
as a robust defence against censorship by offering alternative 
publication mechanisms.

However, significant market power concentration among search engines and 
social networks creates a concern that this mechanism might allow them 
to pressure publishers to delegate technical authority, reinforcing 
consolidation. Today’s republishing platforms have exposed several risks 
of consolidation: opaque effects on content discovery (including search 
ranking), monetizations that advantage the aggregator, and interactivity 
(commenting/sharing) that reinforce the reader’s relationship with the 

These outcomes -- both positive and negative -- could have wide-ranging 
effects on the Web and Internet. Assessing them is outside the core 
competencies of technical standards bodies on their own; so, we are 
holding this workshop to convene potentially affected parties to discuss 
the impact of this proposal.

The scope of this workshop includes:

* Understanding potential changes to balance of power on the Internet 
  (e.g., consolidation, decentralisation)
* The impact of Web Packaging on the online publishing ecosystem (e.g., 
  news sites, other publications, both advertising-driven and not) - 
  both positive and negative
* Examination of the underlying requirements driving these proposals
* Other possible approaches to meeting those requirements
* Feedback and discussion of the Web Packaging proposal in specific

Note that the primary audience is at the business/policy level, not 


* Submissions Due: 3 June 2019
* Invitations Issued by: 10 June 2019
* Workshop Date: 18-19 July 2019 (ending approximately 1pm on Friday)
* Workshop Location: Herndon, Virginia USA
* Program Committee Chair: Mark Nottingham (Internet Architecture Board, 
* Program Committee Members: Martin Thomson (Internet Architecture 
  Board, Mozilla), Robin Berjon (The New York Times), David Strauss 
  (Pantheon, Drupal), Joseph Lorenzo Hall (Center for Democracy & 
* Send Submissions to: escape-workshop-pc@iab.org

Position papers from academia, industry and others that focus on the 
broader picture and that warrant the kind of extended discussion that a 
1.5-day workshop offers are the most welcome. Papers that reflect 
experience based on running code and deployed services are also very 
welcome. Papers that are proposals for point-solutions are less useful 
in this context, and can simply be submitted as Internet-Drafts and 
discussed on relevant IETF or W3C lists.

The workshop will be by invitation only. Those wishing to attend should 
submit a position paper to the address above; this may take the form of 
an Internet-Draft. 

All inputs submitted and considered relevant will be published on the 
workshop web page. The organisers will decide whom to invite based on 
the submissions received. Sessions will be organized according to 
content, and not every accepted submission or invited attendee will have 
an opportunity to present as the intent is to foster discussion and not 
simply to have a sequence of presentations.

Position papers from those unable to attend in person are encouraged. A 
workshop report will be published afterwards.