TAG Today - March 2020
In Midst of Global COVID-19 Disruption, TAG’s Work Continues
The COVID-19 pandemic has upended billions of lives, created an unprecedented public health crisis, disrupted countless industries, and plunged the world into perilous economic times.
In this midst of that upheaval, TAG continues to focus on our mission of protecting the advertising supply chain from those who would profit from this type of chaos and uncertainty. Sadly, many criminals see this crisis as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to profit from confusion and fear, and they are not only targeting consumers, but the ad supply chain as well.
Underscoring the risk, the TAG Threat Exchange is seeing a shift toward malicious redirect threats involving coronavirus-related ads, as well as malware distribution via phishing schemes around COVID-19. In a similar consumer-facing attack, IBM researchers recently exposed a scam attempting to defraud consumers by appearing to request donations from the World Health Organization, while the Department of Justice issued a warning last week against criminals attempting to profit from other forms of fraud, malware, and malicious websites.
As a lead IBM researcher said, “Criminals don’t care about geographic borders. When you have an established population that’s good with technology, you are going to have technological criminals as well.”
That’s why TAG is working closely with our member companies to ensure our industry maintains its robust standards against fraud, piracy, malware, and lack of transparency, and we are sharing information on new and emerging threats among our members and with law enforcement agencies, as needed.
As our 2020 EU fraud baseline report released earlier this month showed, the strongest defense against bad actors is unified engagement across our supply chain. When every advertising industry participant not only adopts high standards but only works with other companies that have done so, we can reduce rates of fraud and other criminal activity to levels that are nominal, predictable, and manageable.
We hope you, your organization, and your family remain healthy and safe through these challenging times, and Team TAG stands ready to assist you with any needs.
President and CEO
Trustworthy Accountability Group
TAG Announces Record Number of Certified Companies
TAG is delighted to announce a record number of companies have been awarded one or more seals for TAG’s Certified Against Fraud, Certified Against Piracy, Certified Against Malware, and Inventory Quality Guideline (IQG) Programs. The continuing growth in TAG’s seal programs highlight the efforts of leading companies to protecting the digital advertising supply chain.
Through this year’s recertification process, 125 companies undertook the rigorous process necessary to recertify their compliance and achieve 164 seals, a significant increase from the 100 companies recertifying 137 seals in 2019. Of the recertified seals, more than one in three (34 percent) were awarded via an independent validation process, rather than self-certification, as companies took additional steps to verify their compliance.
In addition to the companies completing the 2020 recertification process, 17 companies were awarded a total of 24 new certifications during Q4 of 2019. A majority of these seals were applied to the companies’ global operations.
“This year’s seal recertifications and new certifications demonstrate the extraordinary commitment by TAG members to the fight against criminal activity in digital advertising,” said Mike Zaneis. “With a record number of leading companies participating in TAG programs, we are creating a consistent, unified, and secure framework for digital advertising worldwide. Our deep congratulations to all of the companies who have taken the steps needed to protect our supply chain and build a safer and more transparent digital advertising industry.”
2020 TAG EU Fraud Study Shows 94% Less Fraud + 3x Growth in Adoption
Earlier this morning, TAG released its second annual analysis of ad fraud in Europe, showing extremely low fraud rates in TAG Certified Channels as an increasing number of European companies adopt TAG’s anti-fraud standards.
Conducted by The 614 Group, the study found a 94 percent reduction in digital advertising fraud when advertisers used TAG Certified distribution channels as compared to industry norms. Driving those gains across Europe’s ad industry, the number of companies achieving the TAG Certified Against Fraud Seal in Europe has more than tripled over the last two years.
“Past studies have shown that using TAG Certified distribution channels can reduce fraud rates to very low, predictable, and manageable levels, but a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, which is why we are so delighted by the broad adoption of TAG’s anti-fraud standards across Europe,” said Mike Zaneis. “In the last two years, the digital advertising supply chain in Europe has been forged into an interlocking barrier of TAG certifications against fraud, leaving criminals few gaps to exploit or holes in which to hide.”
“We are excited about this industrywide research in supporting a cleaner ecosystem, and we have worked with our agencies to solidify a global practice that protects our agencies and clients from bad actors,” said Yale Cohen, EVP, Digital Investment and Standards, Publicis Media Exchange (PMX). “Publicis was the first holding company to work with TAG on its Platinum Status seal, and continues to work with partners to learn and improve.”
“This study helps our clients benchmark and contextualise the reduction in Invalid Traffic (IVT) or ad fraud, when Omnicom Media Group works with companies that have adopted TAG's rigorous standards to protect themselves, their partners, and the supply chain,” Saiful Ahmed, Director, Ad Technology at Omnicom Media Group. “We welcome being part of this study, as it provides valuable research data regarding the state and non-stop fight against ad fraud in Europe today.”
The full 2020 TAG EU Fraud Benchmark Study can be found on the TAG website.
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.