TAG Today - July 2019
TAG’s Certified Against Piracy (CAP) program was the first initiative launched by the organization, and it remains a central component of TAG’s work. This year, those anti-piracy efforts have accelerated dramatically, with a 33 percent increase in companies earning the Certified Against Piracy Seal, making it TAG’s fastest-growing program area. In addition, the pipeline of companies working toward certification has grown to include more than 30 direct buyers, publishers, and major media companies.
Thanks to those industry efforts, the fight against ad-supported piracy is choking off revenue to the criminals who profit from stolen content. For example, a recent study found that TAG and CreativeFuture have successfully reduced the number of ad impressions on pirate content sites in the US by more than 90 percent over two years through their “Follow the Money” initiative, while eliminating all ads from premium brand advertisers on those sites.
“We still have a long way to go to end ad-supported piracy worldwide, but we have created a formidable armada of companies from across the supply chain that are committed to pursuing and sinking those criminal operations as quickly as we find them,” said Mike Zaneis, CEO of TAG. “As we solidify our US gains, we are shifting our attention to Europe and other regions where pirate operations have proliferated, so we can create a truly global framework for IP protection in the advertising industry.”
Beyond CAP certification, TAG’s anti-piracy work has expanded significantly in Europe with the rollout of Project Brand Integrity, a program launched earlier this year that monitors infringing sites, so TAG can alert advertisers and agencies when their ads run on those sites and help them take remedial action. With monitoring led by White Bullet, Project Brand Integrity has already identified more than 110,000 unique ad creatives from major brands that have been served against 35 million impressions on pirate sites in the EU, and TAG has reached out to multiple agencies involved to help them fix those issues.
As the CAP program expands, the Anti-Piracy Working Group (APWG) is focused on reviewing and updating the program’s guidelines and tools to address the evolution of piracy and help companies better fight it in the digital ad supply chain.
On the public policy front, TAG continues to strengthen its partnerships around piracy through continued engagement with the US Patent & Trademark Office’s Forum on Brand Protection and Anti-Counterfeiting Strategy and the FBI Ad Tech Forum. In Europe, TAG’s support for the European Commission’s Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has helped the majority of the corporate signatories comply with the MoU by obtaining CAP certification.
As IP thieves adjust their tools and tactics to monetize their stolen content with advertising, TAG and its members will continue to adapt its programs and partnerships to stay one step ahead.
From Cannes to Cologne, TAG execs and members are leading the industry discussion on how best to protect and strengthen our supply chain. If you’ll be at DMEXCO this year, please join TAG CEO Mike Zaneis for a panel briefing on “Restoring Trust and Quality in Digital Advertising” at 11am CET on Thursday, September 12th in Conference Room D, 2nd Floor Congress Centre North.
The panel will bring together some of our industry’s leading experts to tackle this complicated topic, including Sebastian Höft, Head of Traffic Quality at Smaato; Andreas Neu, Senior Client Partner at Oracle Data Cloud; Peter Szyszko, CEO at White Bullet; and Arne Kirchem, Media Director at Unilever DACH. Following a light lunch, the Coalition for Better Ads will provide an update at 12.30pm CET on current research projects as well as an examination of how the Better Ads Standards have helped the industry combat ad blocking.
Space is limited, so please RSVP soon if you’re able to attend.
As TAG continues to rapidly expand its global reach, TAG Today will take an occasional look at some countries where TAG members are leading the way.
With a population of less than nine million people, Israel has been nicknamed the “Start-Up Nation” for its disproportionate impact on the technology sector. On a per capita basis, Israel has more start-up companies and a larger venture capital industry than any nation in the world, and many of the digital ad innovators there have decided to join TAG’s efforts to fight crime and improve transparency.
Among TAG’s growing contingent of Israeli members are Adjesty, Anyclip, Anzu.io, Carambola, Cheq, Cignal.io, Cydersoft, Firstimpression, Fortvision LTD, Gamoshi, Ironsource, Protected Media, Unbotify, Vidazoo, and Woobi, with many more in the pipeline for future participation. Mazel tov and thank you to TAG’s Israeli participants for your active role in TAG’s success!
From an interview with TAG COO Rachel Nyswander Thomas in “Inside TAG’s Ad Fraud Battle Plan” in Adweek:
In 2018, TAG debuted its TAG Threat Exchange to allow buy- and sell-side platforms to share suspicious activity on their networks with each other as well as law enforcement, including IP addresses with fraudulent activity or data centers with bot traffic. …
“Working together to bring down criminal entities is exciting and it’s new to the industry,” Thomas said. “It’s not new to the financial industry or energy, etcetera, but it’s new to us.” Thomas said this is also a mark of the industry’s maturity. “Getting to real-time threat-sharing is the next leap in solving criminal issues,” she added.
At the same time, fraud exists everywhere—and it will exist in whatever the industry creates next. “It doesn’t mean the world is ending—it just means you created something valuable,” she added.
That’s why Thomas said TAG will continue to tweak its certification programs and guidelines so the organization can solve issues within whatever ad inventory comes next. The goal is to make the space less enticing for criminals, which is to say to make it harder to turn an illicit profit.
“They came to this industry because it was easy—they will go elsewhere if it becomes hard,” she added. “We will never get rid of fraud, but we can tamp it down to get back to our day jobs.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for review before release.