Ad industry standards bodies merge

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The digital advertising industry’s two leading anti-fraud and brand safety organisations, the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) and Joint Industry Committee for Web Standards (JICWEBS), are to merge.

Mike Zaneis will serve as CEO for the combined organisation – which will carry the TAG name – while JICWEBS’s Jules Kendrick will take the new role of Managing Director of UK and Europe. The merger will be completed in early September 2020.

JICWEBS and TAG announced a formal partnership in March 2017. Since then, the two organisations have aligned their programmes to strengthen standards, avoid duplicative effort, and extend their reach. As part of that initial alignment, JICWEBS merged its anti-fraud efforts into the TAG Certified Against Fraud Program and encouraged its members to adopt the TAG Certified Against Malware and Certified Against Piracy Programs.

“This merger will ensure that companies around the world and across the supply chain can focus their efforts on a single trusted set of self-regulatory standards that address fraud, malware, piracy, and brand protection,” said Zaneis. “From Manhattan to Manchester, Madrid to Macao, and Mumbai to Melbourne, every company in digital advertising can comply with TAG’s standards.”

“By bringing TAG and JICWEBS together, we are making it easier for every company in the supply chain to adopt the high standards necessary to protect themselves and their customers across the globe,” added Kendrick. “Rather than wading through an acronym soup of regional alternatives with differing standards, costs, and compliance requirements, companies can make sure they comply with one set of industry-wide certifications.”

Going forward, the combined organisation will also harmonise the JICWEBS Digital Trading Standards Group (DTSG) with TAG’s Inventory Quality Guidelines (IQG) Program into a global brand safety certification programme.

As part of the merger, the four UK-based trade bodies – the Association for Online Publishing (AOP), the Internet Advertising Bureau UK (IAB UK), the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA), and ISBA – the voice of British advertisers – will join TAG’s governing body, the TAG Leadership Council.

In addition to its JICWEBS relationship, TAG has been building global partnerships with other trade organisations for several years. Among those efforts:

  • TAG recently announced a partnership with the Chinese Advertising Association (CAA) to promote TAG’s programmes to CAA’s 2,000 members in China.
  • TAG previously announced a collaboration with GÜR, the Turkish platform for trustworthy digital advertising, as well as direct dialogue with a range of other national and regional industry associations.

The cross-border benefits of TAG programmes have been proven through research demonstrating dramatically lower fraud rates in TAG Certified Channels in Europe, Asia-Pacific, and the UK.


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