February 26, 2019

TAG Today - February 2019


TAG Launches European Anti-Piracy Initiative, Extending Successful US Program

Earlier in February, TAG launched Project Brand Integrity, a new initiative to protect European brands from association with illegal stolen content by alerting advertisers or their agencies to ads running on pirate sites in Europe. To implement the program, TAG will work with White Bullet, which will monitor and document ads on infringing sites.

A similar effort led by TAG and CreativeFuture in the US has successfully reduced the number of impressions on pirate content sites in the US by more than 90 percent over two years, and it has eliminated all ads from premium brand advertisers on those sites. 

The City of London Police’s Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) praised TAG’s new program. “We are always pleased to see the introduction of initiatives such as Project Brand Integrity that uphold similar values to our own.”

European and global media coverage of the launch included The Drum, Campaign, Marketing Week,MediaPost, HORIZONT (Germany), WARC, City A.M., Advanced Television, ExchangeWire, Mobile Marketing Magazine, Torrent Freak, PerformanceIN, World Intellectual Property Review, Illicit Trade News Network, and Securing Industry. 

First TAG European Fraud Analysis Shows 94% Reduction in TAG Certified Channels

In January, TAG released the first analysis showing the effectiveness of ongoing industry anti-fraud efforts in Europe. The study, conducted by The 614 Group, found the use of TAG Certified distribution channels for digital advertising reduced the level of fraud by more than 94 percent from the broader industry average.

The study compared invalid traffic (IVT) rates in TAG Certified Channels against industry norms by measuring approximately four billion ad impressions from January-December 2018 from three major advertising agency holding companies across the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, and The Netherlands. The results found a dramatic reduction in fraud rates across European markets from an industry average of 8.99 percent to just .53 percent when using TAG Certified Channels. 

Commenting on the results, Mike Zaneis said, “Ad fraud is a global problem, and addressing it will require our industry to work together across national and regional borders. Happily, this study demonstrates that the industry has developed an effective and scalable solution, and Europe is leading the way.” 

Media coverage of the study included MediaPost, Campaign, Digiday, ExchangeWire, Mobile Marketing Magazine, NetImperative, MediaTel, Advanced Television, PPC Land, MarTech Series, and VideoAdNews.

MediaPost’s take on the results:

London Blog

TAG Educates Industry on New “Drainerbot” App-Based Threat

Last week, TAG held an industry briefing to educate member companies about “DrainerBot,” a major new app-based ad fraud operation distributed through millions of downloads of infected consumer apps. According to researchers at Oracle who discovered the threat, infected apps can consume more than 10GB of data per month downloading hidden and unseen video ads, potentially costing each device owner a hundred dollars per year or more in data overage charges.

On a conference call attended by more than 160 TAG compliance officers and other executives, TAG CEO Mike Zaneis joined with senior Oracle technology and business executives to discuss the DrainerBot operation, its potential impact on TAG members and the industry, mitigation steps, and the emerging threat of app-based fraud.

“Mobile app fraud is a fast-growing threat that touches every stakeholder in the supply chain, from advertisers and their agencies to app developers, ad networks, publishers, and, increasingly, consumers themselves,” said Zaneis. “These types of fraud operations cross all four of TAG’s programmatic pillars, including fraud, piracy, malware, and transparency, and preventing such operations will require unprecedented cross-industry collaboration.”

Coverage of TAG’s efforts to educate the industry about this new threat included The Washington Post, AdAge, MediaPost, AdExchanger, Marketing Land, and MarTech Series. A recording of the webcast of the briefing can be seen here.

TAG Releases Updated Versions of Certified Against Fraud, Inventory Quality Guidelines

In January, TAG announced the final release of Version 4.0 of the Certified Against Fraud Guidelines (including Version 2.0 of the Invalid Traffic Taxonomy) and Version 3.0 of the Inventory Quality Guidelines

The revised TAG Certified Against Fraud Guidelines include two major updates to existing requirements as follows:  

  • Independent Validation are now required to certify European or Global operations. These companies are required to invite an independent auditor to review and validate their compliance with the CAF Guidelines. This impacts companies certifying their operations in one or more countries in Europe; the geographic region of Europe; or global operations.
  • The existing Ads.txt requirement for publishers have expanded to include advertisers, agencies and adtech companies. All participating companies are required to implement and/or honor ads.txt files.

The updated Inventory Quality Guidelines have a simplified format, including better clarification of existing requirements, and removal of best practice commentary. Changes include:

  • Requirements for advertisers and agencies (i.e. Direct Buyers) have been removed, refocusing the IQG Certified Program as a certification solely for publishers and adtech companies (i.e., Direct Sellers and Intermediaries).
  • All participating companies are required to classify content by brand safety ratings, aligned with the 4A’s Advertising Protection Bureau (APB) Brand Safety Floor and Framework.
  • All participating companies are required to refrain from sale of inventory that falls into an expanded and updated list of prohibited content categories, aligned with the 4A’s APB Brand Safety Floor.
  • The scope of the IQG Certified Program have expanded to better address programmatic transactions. Any participating company passing bid requests are required to ensure that programmatic buying disclosures fully comply with OpenRTB specifications v.2.2 or higher.
  • All participating companies are required to implement and/or honor ads.txt files.

TAG will begin enforcing compliance with these updated certification and tool requirements in July 2019, but companies are encouraged to begin working toward compliance immediately. The full updated guidelines can be found on the TAG website. If you have any questions, please contact Bonnie Niederstrasser at bonnie@tagtoday.net.

A PR Reminder from TAG

We love it when TAG members highlight our work together to fight digital ad crime and improve transparency. Please send any TAG-related press releases, blogs, or other announcements to Andrew Weinstein at andrewwstn@gmail.com for review before release.

Topics: Blog