March 30, 2021

TAG Today - March 2021



Earlier this month, TAG announced the 224 companies that had completed the rigorous process to receive TAG’s Certified Against Fraud, Certified Against Piracy, Certified Against Malware, and Brand Safety Certified Seals, a 79% jump over the 125 companies to be certified at this point last year.

Continuing the program’s extraordinary growth, the number of certification seals held by companies soared by 87% in 2020 to 308 seals from 165 seals a year earlier, as TAG’s programs increasingly became global supply chain standards. Companies also looked to third-party auditors to verify their compliance, with independent validations rising 243% over the last year.

“In a year of wrenching dislocation and rising criminal activity, the world’s leading digital advertising companies looked to TAG standards for stability, continuity, and protection, and they demanded their supply chain partners set the same high bar,’” said TAG CEO Mike Zaneis. “This was a tipping point year in which the TAG seals became prerequisites for doing business in nearly every global market and sector of the industry. We plan to build on this year’s momentum by raising our standards and expanding our global reach even further to block bad actors and build a brand safe ecosystem for all advertisers.”

In addition to the individual seal awards, a record 12 companies achieved TAG Platinum status, in which they have successfully earned all four of TAG’s certification seals – a 50% increase in Platinum companies from 2020. Those companies are ebay, Google, Index Exchange, Iponweb, Kroger, OpenX, Publicis Media, RhythmOne, SpotX, Sovrn, Unruly, and xandr.

“The remarkable success of TAG’s certification programs rests on the active participation of hundreds of member companies, who have worked with TAG to strengthen and adapt our standards each year while taking the rigorous steps needed to turn those standards into practice across the industry,” said Todd Miller, Director of Compliance at TAG. “We are delighted at the increasing ubiquity of TAG’s programs, but even more heartened by the worldwide evidence of the effectiveness of such programs, including a greater than 90% fraud reduction in TAG Certified Channels in every market studied.”

As TAG has become recognized as the leading global standards program around criminal activity and brand safety, an increasing number of companies have opted to certify their global operations. In 2021, 40% of companies achieved such global certifications – up from 32% in the prior year.  

The full list of companies whose TAG Seals have been recertified for 2021 can be found on the TAG website at



On March 1st, TAG and the China Advertising Association (CAA) and the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) announced the launch of TAG’s global Certified Against Fraud and Brand Safety Certified standards in the Chinese market. A year ago, the two organizations announced a collaboration to promote TAG’s certifications in China, and this marks the formal launch of two of TAG’s primary programs in the country.

TAG’s Certified Against Fraud standards have been localized to incorporate compliance with China National Standards GBT34092.2 - Interactive Advertising - Delivery Monitor Requirements, although companies can continue to use the Media Rating Council’s (MRC) GIVT guidelines if they prefer. TAG and CAA are currently working towards including Sophisticated Invalid Traffic (SIVT) in the standard by 2022.

As with companies certifying operations in Europe or globally, companies applying for the Certified Against Fraud certification in China must obtain independent validation of their compliance, rather than self-attestation. Such independent validation services will be provided by China Digital Advertising Technology Laboratory (CDA Tech Lab), a joint initiative between CAA and the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT), in addition to existing providers.

Announcing the partnership, Zhang Guo Hua, Chairman of China Advertising Association, said, “Building on our collaboration with TAG, CAA is delighted to launch these standards in China to help tackle criminal activity and promote brand safety in digital advertising. We believe this is an important development and – underpinned with independent validation – will make a real difference to the quality of digital advertising in China. CAA encourages its member companies to take this step.”

Mike Zaneis added, “TAG’s work with CAA in bringing these standards to China adjusts measures to local conditions whilst - at the same time - leveraging an approach that is consistent for businesses operating both in China and beyond. It is CAA’s pragmatic leadership that has made this a reality, and TAG will continue to help to meet the challenges.”

Coverage of the announcement included MediaPost, AdExchanger, Mobile Marketing, Advanced Television, MarTech Series, and the CAA website (Mandarin).



Following is a summary of recent and upcoming speaking events and panels featuring TAG executives.

IAB Annual Leadership Meeting, March 11th
Topic: “Transparency in a CTV World – Reality or Pipe Dream”
Panelist: TAG CEO Mike Zaneis

IAB Greece Brand Safety Summit, March 19th
Topic: “Brand Safety across the Digital Supply Chain”
Speaker: Jules Kendrick, TAG MD UK & Europe

IAB: Introduction to Malware and Ad Quality Training (IAB US), April 13th
Topic: “Malvertising Trends – Presented by The Media Trust”
Speaker: TAG CEO Mike Zaneis
Register here:

  The 614 Group Brand Safety Summit Asia in Singapore 614, April 14th
  Speaker: Joe Nguyen, APAC Advisor, TAG
  Register here:

  IAB Connect 2021 (IAB Ireland), April 15th
  Topic: “The Gold Standard in Ireland”
  Panelist: Jules Kendrick, TAG MD UK & Europe
  Register here:

IAB Tech Lab: Safe Supply Chain (IAB US), April 27th-28th
Panelist: Jules Kendrick, TAG MD UK & Europe, others TBC
Register here:


From “Twitter Extends Reply Conversations to Advertisers” in Adweek:

Twitter also said Tuesday that it earned the Trustworthy Accountability Group Brand Safety Certified Seal.

Global brand safety and TAG compliance officer A.J. Brown and senior product marketing manager Lauren Ehrlich said in a blog post Tuesday that TAG is a global certification program aimed at thwarting criminal activity and increasing trust in digital advertising by eliminating fraudulent traffic, sharing threat intelligence and connecting industry leaders to analyze threats and share best practices.

The Brand Safety Certified program applies to digital advertising agreements, monetized content takedown practices, inclusion/exclusion lists and documentation of specific policies and procedures used to minimize the risk of ad misplacement. Its standards impacts direct buyers, sellers, and intermediaries.

From “IAS Achieves Recertification from the Trustworthy Accountability Group” in B&T (Australia):

 “A longstanding member of TAG, IAS is committed to providing our partners with the trusted tools to control and protect their advertising investments,” said Lisa Utzschneider, CEO, IAS. “We’re proud to achieve these recertifications from TAG because our mission is to be the global benchmark for trust and transparency in digital media quality for our partners.”

For 2021, IAS completed the rigorous evaluations required to achieve recertification for TAG’s Certified Against Fraud, Certified Against Piracy, and Brand Safety Certified Programs.  

From “Extreme Reach Recognized With TAG Certified Against Fraud Seal” in MarTech Series:

"As technology evolves, bad actors become more sophisticated and harder to identify and catch," says Dan Brackett, Chief Technology Officer of Extreme Reach. "We're proud to achieve this certification from TAG, which is a recognition of ER's ongoing work to stay ahead of invalid activity in the digital video ecosystem. Where viewers go, fraud unfortunately follows, and it's incumbent on all of us to help keep the ecosystem safe for advertisers, publishers, and viewers alike."

TAG ShieldA 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.


Topics: Blog