TAG Today - July 2018

July 31, 2018


Industry Launches “Brand Safety Institute” to Train & Accredit Brand Safety Execs


Earlier this week, TAG CEO Mike Zaneis helped launch a new ad industry initiative – the Brand Safety Institute (BSI) – to advance brand protection through research, education, and professional certification. The centerpiece of BSI’s efforts will be a rigorous Brand Safety Officer certification program offering training and accreditation for industry executives who manage brand safety and related issues within their companies.

In a conversation with AdExchanger, Zaneis explained that BSI’s priority will be “training individuals, a bit like the ‘certified information privacy professional’ certificate created by the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP), which helped inspire BSI.”

“The IAPP saw a need for organizations to better understand data and privacy, and now, over time, you have something like 10,000 certified privacy professionals out there,” Zaneis said. “Ultimately, we want to create an army of hundreds or eventually even thousands of certified brand safety officers.”

Offering additional perspective on the launch, BSI Co-Founder Neal Thurman added, “The Brand Safety Institute is designed to raise the bar on brand safety education and training, so every executive who works on these complicated challenges has the information, tools, resources, relationships, and certification needed to effectively protect and improve their company’s brand in the digital advertising space.”

BSI and TAG also jointly released a new white paper highlighting the confusion around the brand safety issue and offering several recommendations for industry action to address it.

Based on detailed interviews with more than 20 senior executives with leading companies across the digital advertising ecosystem, the BSI/TAG white paper found significant disagreement over the scope of the brand safety problem, as buyers felt it included brand ROI issues like ad fraud, while sellers tended to limit it to association with inappropriate content. The white paper recommended that companies create a new position of “Brand Safety Officer” to ensure the appropriate expertise and training to address these complicated challenges.

Coverage on the launch included an exclusive in AdExchanger, “Brand Safety Institute Aims to Smarten Up the Digital Ad Industry,” as well as additional coverage in MarTech Today, MarTech Series, AListDaily, and eMarketer.

TAG Announces New Working Group Co-Chairs

Highlighting the continued progress being made across TAG’s program areas, TAG is delighted to announce the executives who will lead TAG’s Working Groups as chairs and co-chairs going forward!  The new Working Group chairs and co-chairs include:

  • Anti-Fraud Working Group: Nicole Cosby (Publicis Groupe), John Alleva (NBCUniversal), Scott Spencer (Google)
  • Business Transparency Committee: Jason Bier (Engine Group)
  • Anti-Malware Working Group: Carrie Lindsay (JP Morgan Chase), Andrew Arnold (The Trade Desk)
  • Inventory Quality Working Group (formerly the Evolved Guidelines Working Group, which was relaunched earlier this month): Chris Hallenbeck (OpenX)

In addition, both John Montgomery (GroupM) and David Green (NBCUniversal) are continuing to serve as co-chairs for the Anti-Piracy Working Group, while Susan Cho (OpenX) is stepping down from her role as co-chair of the Anti-Malware Working Group, effective in August. 

TAG Working Group chairs and co-chairs are drawn from TAG’s Leadership Council, allowing those members an opportunity to shape and advance TAG’s work in the areas of greatest relevance and expertise to their companies. If you are interested in joining TAG’s Leadership Council or otherwise participating in any of TAG’s Working Groups, please contact

Congratulations to our newest chairs and co-chairs, and our deepest thanks to existing and former co-chairs for the important work they have done to advance TAG’s mission.

TAG Releases Updated Guidelines for Certified Against Fraud & Malware Programs

Earlier this month, TAG released updated anti-fraud and anti-malware guidelines for all program participants, including Version 3.0 of the Certified Against Fraud Guidelines and Version 2.0 of the Certified Against Malware Guidelines. At the same time, TAG released Version 2.0 of the Best Practices for Publisher Sourcing Disclosures and Version 2.0 of the Technical Best Practices Against Malware

All of the news documents are available publicly on the TAG website.  Companies enrolled in TAG’s Certified Against Fraud and Certified Against Malware Programs will also receive updated applicant packets including the relevant guidelines, as well as updated application materials.

TAG will begin enforcing compliance with these updated certification and tool requirements in January 2019, but companies are encouraged to being working toward compliance immediately.

For any questions on the revised guidelines or information on the upcoming schedule of CAF and CAM trainings, please contact Dominique at


From Bob Liodice, CEO of the Association of National Advertisers, on

[Liodice] cites as an example the joint effort by the ANA, 4A’s and IAB to combat digital advertising fraud under the auspices of the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG).

“What we needed to do was create an institutional presence that allowed for confidence to grow in the entire digital supply chain that we could attack fraud at its roots.”

As a result, research has indicated that ads that go through the TAG certification process show an 84% improvement in fraud rates versus the general market.\

“That’s the type of progress we’re looking to make,” says Liodice.

From Abbey Thomas, Chief Marketing Officer for Tremor Video DSP, on “How to Ensure Brand Safe Environments” in SmartBrief:

To create a clean and safe supply chain, we need players to abide by the appropriate policies. Here, IAB and TAG are leading the way. Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) is a cross-industry accountability program that aims to create transparency in business relationships and transactions. It is incumbent on everyone in the industry to vow to only work with TAG-certified companies. By exclusively partnering with TAG-certified companies such as Tremor Video DSP, brands will help ensure their ads run on legitimate platforms and make it harder for illegitimate players to stay in business.

Last year, IAB made it mandatory that members register with TAG. This January, TAG announced that publishers must implement ads.txt in order to receive a "certified against fraud" seal. Ads.txt aims to prevent advertisers from buying unauthorized inventory programmatically by allowing publishers to publicly declare who is authorized to sell their inventory. Roughly half of all websites have implemented ads.txt, which is great—but that also means half of websites have not yet implemented ads.txt. Brands must consider this as they choose their advertising partners. Unless everyone agrees to only work with good actors, we will continue to have supply quality problems.

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 for review before release.

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