February 27, 2020

TAG Today - February 2020


2020 Agenda
ITIF Report
TAG In The News


TAG Today – February 2020

TAG Working Groups Lay Out Aggressive 2020 Agenda

To support TAG’s efforts around its four key strategic priorities for 2020, TAG Working Group have set an aggressive agenda for member engagement and outcomes for the year. Among those areas of focus:

Anti-Fraud Working Group (AFWG)

In 2020, the AFWG will coordinate TAG’s efforts to develop industry-wide definitions of Over-the-Top TV (OTT) and Connected TV (CTV), so TAG can lead efforts to address across those channels, part of its first strategic priority. The AFWG will also help TAG shift its program guidelines from General Invalid Traffic (GIVT) to Sophisticated Invalid Traffic (SIVT), the greatest area of emerging fraud; work to extend and expand the tools available to members, like the data center IP list; and encourage members in the shift to independent validation.

Anti-Piracy Working Group (APWG)

As with their peers in the AFWG, the members of the APWG will also be working to support the first TAG strategic priority by tackling piracy in the OTT and CTV space. They will also be working to improve TAG anti-piracy tools, including the Pirate Mobile App List, and they will be helping TAG build on the success of the Follow the Money initiative in the US and worldwide.

Anti-Malware Working Group (AMWG)

While threat-sharing initiatives cross many of TAG’s program areas, the AMWG will be taking a central role on TAG’s second strategic priority: fully operationalizing TAG’s threat-sharing role as industry ISAO, including the TAG Threat Exchange. The AMWG will also be helping the industry to develop standard identifiers for malware attacks and technical best practices against malware.

Business Transparency Committee (BTC)

Finally, the BTC has a packed to-do list for 2020, including a leadership role in addressing three of TAG’s strategic priorities for the year. Those include establishing transparency definitions for the CTV/OTT environment, driving adoption of TAG-ID transparency to power smart partnerships across the digital advertising supply chain, and launching a new unified brand safety and transparency certification, incorporating elements of both TAG’s IQG and JICWEBS’s DTSG programs. Beyond those critical initiatives, the BTC will also be tackling the emerging issue of audio measurement.

In short, TAG’s Working Groups will once again be the place where the action happens as our industry’s leaders gather to address emerging challenges, establish industry standards, and turn TAG’s vision into reality. If you’d like to participate in any of TAG’s Working Groups, please contact Bonnie Niederstrasser at bonnie@tagtoday.info.

ITIF Reports Highlights TAG Success in Fighting Ad-Supported Piracy

Earlier this week, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) released a new report highlighting TAG’s success in fighting ad-supported piracy. The report,“How Voluntary Agreements Among Key Stakeholders Help Combat Digital Piracy,” discusses the range of solutions being used to tackle the evolving channels in digital piracy and points to TAG’s approach as a notable success.

An excerpt from that report follows:

Cutting Off the Advertising Money Going to Digital Piracy Websites

Most public-facing piracy sites are motivated by money, much of which comes from advertising. This can involve ads from large, reputable brands that inadvertently have their ads placed on these piracy sites. There are a range of initiatives underway to cut off this source of funds.

Established in the United States in 2014, the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) is a not-for-profit cross-industry (self-regulation) program for advertisers that aims to eliminate fraudulent digital advertising traffic, combat malware, fight ad-supported Internet piracy in order to promote brand integrity, and promote brand safety through greater transparency. In 2015, the U.S. Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) estimated that fraudulent impressions, infringed content, and “malvertising” were costing digital marketers $8.2 billion annually in the United States alone.

Companies (advertising and agencies) have the option to achieve the Certified Against Piracy Seal by operationalizing and demonstrating full compliance with the TAG Anti-Piracy Pledge and abiding by the Certified Against Piracy Guidelines. Google, Facebook, Disney, Warner, NBC Universal, and many other major companies are members. Major ad agencies—such as the world’s largest, WPP’s GroupM—have stipulated that their media partners either become TAG certified or use TAG-certified services.

A 2017 Ernst & Young study showed TAG had helped cut revenue to piracy sites by 48 to 61 percent in the United States, which amounts to an estimated $102 million to $177 million loss in potential earnings for piracy sites. TAG also reduces fraudulent and malicious activity often associated with piracy sites. A separate December 2017 study found the use of TAG-certified distribution channels reduced fraud by more than 83 percent.

Most recently, a 2019 study by TAG and its partner Creative Futures estimated that TAG had directly reduced the presence of 76 major brands’ advertising on pirate sites, which led to a 90 percent reduction in (ad) impressions served on piracy sites over two years. In 2016–2017, more than 60 brands or agencies each contributed large volumes of ads on pirate sites, with some premium brands generating between 5 million and 25 million impressions per month. By 2018, no premium advertisers could be identified at high volumes on pirate sites.


From “404Bot Underscores the Ever-Evolving Threat of Ad Fraud” in Adweek:

“Last year, Trustworthy Accountability Group, a trade body focused on transparency issues such as fraud, attempted to orchestrate such a collaborative effort to tackle ad fraud, proposing a “Threat Exchange,” whereby its membership, which primarily comprises verification vendors, share intelligence on fraudsters.

“TAG CEO Mike Zaneis told Adweek the initiative now involves 10 companies sharing information, such as IP addresses known to be generating malicious software or ad creatives aiming to hoodwink the industry. ‘Right now, we are looking at Phase 2 and working with our partners TruSTAR so we can look at addressing mobile redirects,’ Zaneis said.”

From “Advertising Fraud: There’s Still Plenty More to Do,” an oped by Stephen Broderick, CEO of FirmDecisions, in MediaTel:

“Our experience of working with the world’s leading advertisers – over the past three years, but also over the past 20 years, when both good and less good practices have become endemic in the industry – suggests there are six principal steps advertisers can take to ensure that their digital media budgets are less vulnerable to fraud. …

Actively work with industry working groups that are trying to implement solutions to limit the risk. These include TAG, the Trustworthy Accountability Group. This is a cross-industry accountability programme, working with agencies, brands, and other industry organisations and aims to develop processes in partnership that can be adopted globally.”

From “Set the Bar High by Protecting Your Video Campaigns,” an oped by Ed Wale, MD for UK and Spain at SpotX in Videonet:

“The digital advertising industry, led by the IAB, IAB Tech Lab and Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG), continuously take new measures and develops new technologies to identify and eliminate fraudulent activity and promote transparency across the digital ecosystem. In the last two years, significant strides have been made in the digital video space to standardise and safeguard the buying and selling of digital video inventory, including mobile. …

“Along with the help of these standards, TAG certifications and third-party verification companies like DoubleVerify and MOAT, the mobile video industry has achieved operational efficiencies, increased industry transparency, and even unlocked advertiser spend due to an increase in confidence in their mobile video investments.

“If brands ensure that they consistently monitor fraud levels using preventative methods – which seamlessly integrate their brand safety measures, too – then they can authorise inventory and help eliminate bad actors and entities who are not adding value to the ecosystem. Everyone needs to work towards an ad tech ecosystem that is open, honest, and transparent. Thankfully, the tools and techniques to do so are now plentiful.”

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