February 28, 2024


Partnerships with Leading Ad Tech Intermediaries Will Prevent Ad Dollars from Going to Pirate Websites Via Pre-Bid Exclusion

Project Brand Integrity 2.0

Washington, DC – February 28, 2024 – TAG (Trustworthy Accountability Group), the global certification program to strengthen safety and transparency in digital advertising, today launched “Project Brand Integrity 2.0” (PBI 2.0), a significant expansion of TAG’s proven anti-piracy initiative to defund the criminals who profit from stolen content while protecting advertisers from unintentional exposure to unsafe websites.

Through PBI 2.0, TAG will leverage new partnerships with the industry’s major ad tech intermediaries to cut off funding from pirate websites through a comprehensive pre-bid exclusion list, thus preventing pirate sites from monetizing stolen intellectual property (IP). By incorporating real-time intelligence on new pirate domains from TAG’s Ad Sec Threat Exchange and TAG member companies, PBI 2.0 will protect brands while preventing ad dollars from reaching those illegitimate sites. 

“Project Brand Integrity 1.0 was incredibly effective but hard to scale, as it involved a time-consuming manual process of notifying advertisers when their ads were found on pirate sites,” said Mike Zaneis, CEO of TAG. “Although most advertisers took action when alerted to such misplacements, the money often had already changed hands, and the criminals quickly moved their efforts to new domains. PBI 2.0 helps automate, expand, and accelerate that process by blocking the money to pirate sites in advance through pre-bid intermediaries, so it never reaches the criminals in the first place.”  

The new pirate domain exclusion list is being built and maintained through the TAG AdSec Threat Exchange, the industry’s leading forum for sharing threat intelligence, through collaboration with participating companies and other TAG members, while also utilizing open-source resources and intelligence on pirate domains. 

“Fast-changing threats like the pirate domains created by content thieves require real-time collaboration and intelligence sharing to develop a rapid, cross-industry response,” said Michael Lyden, TAG’s VP of Threat Intelligence. “PBI 2.0 will leverage TAG’s proven collective defense model to create, manage, and disseminate an exclusion list of offending piracy-related domains for use across the global advertising industry.”

TAG launched Project Brand Integrity in February 2019 to help advertisers safeguard their brands by alerting advertisers when their ads were found to have run on high-risk and IP-infringing websites. A 2023 report on the program’s work in Europe found that 86% of brands contacted by PBI had reduced their ad impressions on pirate sites after getting such notice. As a result, the average monthly ad spending by major brands on high-risk and other sites that infringe on intellectual property (IP) fell by 89%. 

Part of TAG’s Brand Safety Certified (BSC) Program, PBI 2.0 will couple the new pirate domain exclusion list with TAG’s existing Pirate Mobile App List, a long-standing threat intelligence tool that provides brands with an evidence-based list of mobile apps infringing on protected intellectual property rights.

TAG will work with leading ad tech companies already participating in the AdSec Threat Exchange to ensure that they do not facilitate the monetization of piracy sites included on the exclusion list. TAG also plans to update BSC standards to require the implementation of a piracy-related block list such as the one crowdsourced through the AdSec Threat Exchange for a company to be awarded the BSC Seal. 

Additional information about TAG’s Brand Safety Certified Program and Project Brand Integrity 2.0 can be found at https://www.tagtoday.net/brand-safety

About the Trustworthy Accountability Group

TAG (Trustworthy Accountability Group) is the global certification program to strengthen safety and transparency in digital advertising. For nearly a decade, TAG's seal programs have demonstrated their effectiveness in minimizing fraudulent traffic, sharing threat intelligence, protecting brand safety, and enabling transparency. TAG's 700+ member companies include the world's largest and most influential brands, agencies, publishers, and ad tech providers. TAG is the first and only Information Sharing and Analysis Organization (ISAO) for the digital advertising industry. For more information on TAG, please visit tagtoday.net.