February 2024

In this month's newsletter:



“Be Bold for Publishers” Initiative Makes CAF More Accessible for Publishers

In the past, some publishers have noted that the process for achieving the Certified Against Fraud (CAF) Seal could be cost-prohibitive, given the program’s requirement that publishers undergo an audit or retain a third-party vendor to verify that 100% of their monetizable transactions are filtered for IVT (invalid traffic) detection and removal.

As part of a new “Be Bold for Publishers” Initiative, TAG has addressed those concerns by creating a simpler and more cost-effective pathway for publishers to achieve the CAF Seal.

Effective immediately, TAG will allow publishers to fulfill the 100% IVT filtering requirement simply by showing they use a Supply Side Platform (SSP) that holds a valid CAF Seal. 

This crucial update to TAG’s CAF Guidelines will allow a much broader and more diverse group of publishers to demonstrate their leadership in fighting IVT and enjoy the benefits of TAG Certification.

This new pathway to certification also reinforces the vital role SSPs play in reducing IVT early in the supply chain and allows them to demonstrate greater value to their publisher partners by helping them meet TAG’s high anti-fraud standards.


TAG Launches “Project Brand Integrity 2.0” -- Expands Proven Anti-Piracy Initiative Through New Collaborative Block List 

Project Brand Integrity 2.0

Earlier this week, TAG announced the launch of  “Project Brand Integrity 2.0” (PBI 2.0), a significant expansion of TAG’s proven anti-piracy initiative to defund the criminals who profit from stolen content while protecting advertisers from unintentional exposure to unsafe websites.

Through PBI 2.0, TAG will work with key intermediaries in the digital ad supply chain to cut off funding from pirate websites through a comprehensive pre-bid exclusion list, thus preventing pirate sites from monetizing stolen intellectual property (IP). 

By incorporating real-time intelligence on new pirate domains via TAG’s Ad Sec Threat Exchange and TAG member companies, PBI 2.0 will protect brands while preventing ad dollars from reaching those illegitimate sites. 

TAG CEO Mike Zaneis provided additional context, “Project Brand Integrity 1.0 was incredibly effective but hard to scale, as it involved a time-consuming manual process of notifying advertisers when their ads were found on pirate sites. Although most advertisers took action when alerted to such misplacements, the money often had already changed hands, and the criminals quickly moved their efforts to new domains. PBI 2.0 helps automate, expand, and accelerate that process by blocking the money to pirate sites in advance through pre-bid intermediaries, so it never reaches the criminals in the first place.”  

The new pirate domain exclusion list is being built and maintained through the TAG AdSec Threat Exchange, the industry’s leading forum for sharing threat intelligence, through collaboration with participating companies and other TAG members, while also utilizing open-source resources and intelligence on pirate domains. 

“Fast-changing threats like the pirate domains created by content thieves require real-time collaboration and intelligence sharing to develop a rapid, cross-industry response,” added Michael Lyden, TAG’s VP of Threat Intelligence. “PBI 2.0 will leverage TAG’s proven collective defense model to create, manage, and disseminate an exclusion list of offending piracy-related domains for use across the global advertising industry.”

TAG launched Project Brand Integrity in February 2019 to help advertisers safeguard their brands by alerting advertisers when their ads were found to have run on high-risk and IP-infringing websites. A 2023 report on the program’s work in Europe found that 86% of brands contacted by PBI had reduced their ad impressions on pirate sites after getting such notice. As a result, the average monthly ad spending by major brands on high-risk and other sites that infringe on intellectual property (IP) fell by 89%. 

Part of TAG’s Brand Safety Certified (BSC) Program, PBI 2.0 will couple the new pirate domain exclusion list with TAG’s existing Pirate Mobile App List, a long-standing threat intelligence tool that provides brands with an evidence-based list of mobile apps infringing on protected intellectual property rights.

TAG will work with leading ad tech companies already participating in the AdSec Threat Exchange to ensure that they do not facilitate the monetization of piracy sites included on the exclusion list. TAG also plans to update BSC standards to require the implementation of a piracy-related block list such as the one crowdsourced through the AdSec Threat Exchange for a company to be awarded the BSC Seal. 


Ex-Google, TikTok and Spotify's Dave Byrne & Kenvue's Ander Lopez Ochoa Named as “TAG Trust Champion”

At the beginning of every year, TAG honors select industry leaders as TAG Trust Champions for their exceptional contributions to the industry’s efforts to eliminate fraudulent traffic, share threat intelligence, promote brand safety, and strengthen transparency.

This year, TAG is delighted to recognize Dave Byrne, former Director, Global Advertising Platform Integrity at Spotify, and Ander Lopez Ochoa, EMEA Head of Digital, Content, Media, & eCommerce Marketing for Kenvue, part of the Johnson & Johnson family of companies, for their leadership in addressing those challenges.

TAG_TrustSealOnlyDave Bryne-minDave Byrne

Dave’s contributions have enabled digital advertisers to make major strides in brand safety over the last 12 months. As the former Co-Chair of the TAG Brand Safety Working Group, Dave brought his passion for collaboration while working across diverse teams and companies to raise standards. Dave’s experience across a broad range of advertising area - including social media, audio, and adtech - have provided strong insight and guidance for TAG and its members, ensuring TAG stays at the forefront of safeguarding the industry from threats. Byrne has also helped TAG further advance brand safety standards into emerging channels.


Ander-minAnder Lopez Ochoa

When asked at TAG’s State of the Fight 2023 what he would do if a partner would not provide log-level data, Ander simply said, ”I will try to find another one.”  But Ander’s leadership on transparency extends well beyond that memorable response. Under Ander’s leadership, Kenvue was one of the earliest advocates and adopters of an industry transparency framework, and Ander led the way among brand marketers to require log-level data from intermediaries across his supply chain. By helping move the industry from idea to action on transparency, Ander has demonstrated his vision and proven the tangible benefits of adopting an industry transparency framework and utility like TAG TrustNet.

Please join us in congratulating both of this year’s honorees for their tireless work on behalf of our industry.

To read more about TAG Trust Champions, visit tagtoday.net/awards



From “TAG Broadsides Pirates, Uses Pre-Bid Exclusion List” in MediaPost:

The program, “Project Brand Integrity 2.0,” involves creating a new master list of sites suspected of hosting pirated material. That list will combine information originally compiled by anti-malware vendors and some of the individual ad-tech companies participating in the “threat exchange” anti-malvertising program -- including demand side platforms, server side platforms and exchanges. …

The new program reflects the “tacit recognition that there's an interconnected threat between piracy sites and malvertising,” says Michael Lyden, the Trustworthy Accountability Group's vice president of threat intelligence, adding that many sites with infringing material also host malware-laden ads.




Where in the world is TAG_-min


Team TAG are always looking to connect with the TAG Community wherever they are! 

In February, you can find us here: 

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DocLeverage TAG Research into Your Everyday!

From APAC Fraud Snapshot reports, to UK Brand Safety Consumer reports, to Best Practices whitepapers, TAG's research is here to support our member's day-to-day compliance as well as strategic planning. 

Visit our Data and Insight page 👉 tagtoday.net/insights

SpeakerLet's Make Some Noise Together 🤝

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