Rival publishing firms are joining forces with Sonobi, an independent advertising technology firm that claims it can deliver millions of U.S. consumers without using cookies, in a bid to steal market share away from Facebook (FB) and Google (GOOGL), the duopoly that is expected to capture 85 percent of new digital advertising in 2017. (See also: Facebook, Google Thrive as Digital Ads Hit Record)

According to AdvertisingAge, half of the comscore 250, including the New York Daily News, Penske Media and The Weather Co., form part of this alliance. Rather than continue to compete against each other, they will now pool together their user data using Sonobi’s JetStream technology, one of the few platforms that doesn’t rely on cookies to target audiences. The report also noted that 33 publishers including Condé Nast, The Guardian, CBS Interactive, Viacom and NBC Universal are working with Digital Content Next, a trade association that produces proprietary research to help companies.

Marketers generally use cookies to track digital media habits, although a preference for apps that block them and Apple’s (AAPL) plans to introduce a “no tracking option” in Safari has forced the industry to rethink this strategy. Sonobi CEO Michael Connolly claims that his company is one of the few able to take on Facebook and Google, because of its reach and the fact that most other large ad networks still rely on cookies.

"Jetstream is a cookieless addressable solution similar to Facebook and Google," he said to AdAge. “Its reach is on par with Snapchat (SNAP) globally and about two-times the amount of Twitter's (TWTR) U.S. monthly active users.” (See also: Amazon Could Erode Facebook, Google Ad Dominance.)

Susan Bidel, a senior analyst at Forrester, agrees that by using Sonobi’s cookieless technology these large publishers stand a better chance of convincing marketers to look beyond Facebook and Google. Many of these same publishers are already working with other platforms, such as Digital Content Next’s TrustX, although she believes that the partnership with Sonobi could be the most significant.

"If you're targeting in a cookie-free environment based on first-party data you are actually getting individuals rather than cookies," she said to AdAge. "If you can identify people and deliver those people to an advertiser, cookie-free, with an actual identity attached, that is a much more certain connection with a live, living, breathing human being."

Adage.com reports that Omnicom Media has started buying ads through Sonobi’s JetStream and that other brands, including Bank of America (BAC), are potentially keen to follow suit. (See also: Meeker's Internet Report Highlights Amazon’s Dominance.)



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