Trusted Data interchange FAQ

What is the Trusted Data Interchange (TDI)?

TDI is a tag management system (TMS): software that permits customers to easily manage data collection tags on their websites. We have built TDI to be the most fully featured free TMS available.

What are tags?

Operators of websites have business relationships with many companies that need to extract data from users visiting their digital properties. Examples include analytics companies that report on traffic patterns, ad networks that must serve ads tailored to a user’s characteristics, or social sharing widgets that must connect back to a user’s account.

big blue tag with question marks.pngTags are a way to transmit data from the user’s browser to business partners. Tags can range from 1x1 clear GIF pixels or complex JavaScript programs embedded in web pages. When a user loads a webpage containing a tag, the tag automatically executes in the background and collects information about the user’s session. This data can range from general information about the user, such as IP address or browser type, to specific interactions within the web page or information provided on a form. The tag then transmits this data back to an external server. Some tags control visual elements in the webpage, such as an ad unit or related content widget, and rely on responses from the external server. Tags also can place cookies on the user’s computer. Cookies are small text-only files that permit information to be saved such as the user’s login status or preferences.

The average website has more than 20 tags, with some websites having more than 100 tags. Without a TMS, all tags are loaded every time a web page is visited, whether or not the tags are applicable. Each tag must be separately inserted into the publisher’s webpage, tested to ensure it functions properly, and updated when new tag versions are available. The technology labor needed to support tags increases with the addition of each tag. Also, the size of the target web page also grows, leading to slower load times and higher rates of user abandonment.


How does TDI work?

TDI_website_diagram_small.pngTDI replaces a website’s third-party tags with a single Mezzobit container tag, which is a short snippet of JavaScript code. When the web page loads, the container tag functions like an air traffic controller, determining which other tags need to be included based on rules set up by the customer. For instance, some tags may only be needed if the user is visiting a particular page or just come from a specific website. The container then calls for the needed tags, which are retrieved from a high-speed content delivery network. Most tags are loaded and executed in a way that permits the page content to be separately loaded, which prevents tag problems from interfering with user experience.

Customers can use TDI’s web portal to create one or more containers and associate third-party tags with them. Once a container is created, the customer copies the 11-line container tag and embeds it in the web page. After this point, the customer will never need to insert any new code in the web page; all future changes can be completed from the TDI portal. Similarly, the customer can set up rules within the portal to govern the circumstances under which a tag is executed. No programming knowledge is needed for most rules, although more complex rules may require some technical background.

In the coming months, TDI also will permit customers to run reports on the activity of specific tags, such as what data they are examining and transmitted, as well as their cookie behavior. TDI also will permit users to manage their privacy policies through the portal and develop targeted user notices based on rules and geography. Finally, the system will provide a catalog of commonly used tags, which will speed implementation of new tags.


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