TAG Today - March 2019

March 29, 2019


TAG Recertifies More than 100 Companies Across Four Seal Programs; Number of Recertified Companies Nearly Triples from Prior Year

Earlier in March, TAG announced that more than a hundred companies had achieved 2019 seal recertification for TAG’s Certified Against Fraud, Certified Against Piracy, Certified Against Malware, and Inventory Quality Guideline (IQG) Programs.

Multi-year adoption of TAG’s seal programs continued to skyrocket with 102 companies receiving recertification of 139 existing seals, representing a year-over-year increases of 176% in recertified companies and 124% in recertified seals from the 37 companies recertifying 62 seals in 2018. Of the recertified seals, nearly one in three (30 percent) were awarded via an independent validation process, rather than self-certification.

“Good habits are built over time, and these seal recertifications highlight the digital ad industry’s success at institutionalizing the best practices needed to fight criminal activity and improve transparency,” said Mike Zaneis, CEO of TAG. “Around the world, TAG seals are becoming the baseline requirement for decision-makers to ensure their business partners are taking the right steps to fight fraud, malware, piracy, and lack-of-transparency. We commend all of the companies achieving recertification for 2019, as well as the new companies receiving their initial seals in 2018, for their extraordinary efforts to protect our supply chain and build a safer and more transparent digital advertising industry.” 

TAG Certifications may cover individual countries, geographic regions, or globally. Of the 139 seals recertified in 2019, 59 percent covered global operations, and 76 percent of the companies who recertified through independent validation did so covering their global operations. 

A full list of recertified seal recipients can be found via the TAG Registry or the press release.

TAG White Paper on Piracy Continues to Drive Industry Buzz

Winning the Fight Against Ad-Supported Piracy,” a white paper released by TAG in February, continues to drive industry buzz and attention about its effective recommendations to reduce the money flowing to the criminals who profit from intellectual property theft.

Earlier this month, Creative Future, a leading anti-piracy organization, released a blog saying TAG’s white paper “could prove to be creatives’ best weapon against digital content thieves who make money by running legitimate advertisements on their very illegitimate websites.”

“Now, why would we be so excited about an offering that is essentially a technology playbook for advertisers?,” asked the blog. “Well, because advertising is one of the most reliable sources of revenue for pirate sites – indeed, it is one of their only sources of revenue. And all too often, the ads that pop up on these illegal operations come from widely known brands. They have no idea their paid online marketing campaign is helping support criminals. … By working proactively, brands and their advertising agencies can prevent their ads from appearing on or adjacent to pirated content on infringing sites. And that’s why we’re so excited about Winning the Fight Against Ad-Supported Piracy – because it offers a concise, user-friendly collection of methods for doing exactly that.”

The white paper includes five sections on steps that companies should take to prevent ad-supported piracy, including specific actions around:

  • Taking responsibility and communicating their commitment;
  • Choosing the right partners,
  • Working closely with partners to develop and execute their strategy,
  • Holding partners accountable through contracts and agreements, and
  • Employing the right tools.

More information and details can be found in the TAG white paper here.

Join TAG at the IAB Tech Lab’s Innovation Day on May 6th

If you’re interested in learning more about IAB Tech Lab’s education and adoption effort for all the latest programmatic supply chain releases, please join TAG in New York City on Wednesday, May 6th for a full day event for engineers and technology leaders, “Innovation Day: Transparency and Securing the Supply Chain.

This event is for technical and operations teams who are building the future of programmatic supply chain technology. For this event, IAB Tech Lab’s supply chain scope includes authenticating publisher media inventory, providing transparent paths through ad tech SSP/Exchange platforms, reducing fraud, and serving trusted advertiser creative on purchased impressions.

Attendees will deep dive into critical technical standards, remaining supply chain vulnerabilities and take away inputs for engineering roadmaps in 2019. Learn more and register here.

From Associations Now on “Four Ways to Fight Fake Traffic on Your Association’s Site:

And while organizations like the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) have put a lot of work into preventing ad fraud, it’s worth noting that fake traffic can happen even to sites that don’t run ads—and it can be for reasons as simple as sheer dissonance or dislike of analytics.

So what can you do to tackle fake traffic? Among the tactics that your association should look into as a starting point …

Use certification programs to find vendors focused on fighting fraud. Tools like the TAG’s Certified Against Fraud Program can help lead you in the right direction when it comes to choosing vendors focused on advertising in particular. It’s worth noting that ads are perhaps the most persistent target of fake traffic, as they can directly skew how much advertisers spend, creating ample opportunities for fraud. TAG’s standard is useful here as it creates some rules of the road for how fake traffic is understood by both advertiser and publisher.

From TAG CEO Mike Zaneis in an interview with Adweek on polyglot fraud attacks:

Mike Zaneis, CEO of the Trustworthy Accountability Group, an ad industry trade organization that fights cybercrime, said it’s the first time he’s heard of polyglots used within advertising. However, he said, TAG members have been reporting other types of attacks with more frequency, especially in mobile, premium video and in-app ads.

TAG conducted a briefing recently about a software developer kit attack called “Drainerbot,” which Oracle discovered was stealing data from mobile users.

“We are seeing the frequency of industry collaboration and education accelerate,” he said. “That to me is the most effective thing the industry at large can do: to share threat vectors with each other.”

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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