It seems like only a few months ago that we were pinning anti-piracy advertising hopes on a new entity known as the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG), a diversely-backed organization aiming to introduce higher standards for online advertising networks.
The idea involved a number of initiatives, with a key piece of the puzzle being its Brand Integrity Program, designed to vet advertising channels and assign them a risk rating. That risk could then be weighed against the other factors that all advertisers – including major household brand names – consider, steering reputable brands away from sketchy sites like those that offer unlicensed content, place malware in neighboring content, or even hijack the user’s computer in some way.
The only downside? It seemed like it would take some time to get such an expansive system up, running, and expanded to all major advertisers.
Well, that potentially delayed dream is already a step closer today, as the biggest global media investment company, GroupM, confirmed it will require its partners to use only TAG-certified providers.
— GroupM (@GroupMWorldwide) September 23, 2015
This is a major shift in momentum for TAG and the wider fight against placing reputable ads on disreputable sites, which either legitimizes the site or drags down the advertiser’s reputation, depending on the user experience. Either way, the brand loses (and pays for the privilege).
GroupM clearly understands this equation and has moved early on to take advantage of the certification process that TAG has put in place. Doing so offers peace of mind for the group’s many advertising partners, more secure in the knowledge that the networks on which their marketing communications appear will be supporting legitimate services, not ones that infringe copyright, infect computers, and flaunt the law.
TAG-approved services, formally known as Digital Advertising Assurance Providers or DAAPs, meet five core criteria:
- They actively flag “Ad Risk Entities” (AREs)
- They stop ads appearing on these Ad Risk Entities that ave been highlighted as unreliable, or disreputable
- They must detect and prevent – or at least curb – transactions that are likely to deceive or defraud the consumer
- Track and analyze the performance of compliance
- Remove payments to those AREs flagged as undesirable in earlier steps.
As more organizations and advertiser partnerships like GroupM come on board, it begins to squeeze the revenue out of piracy sites. The good money gone bad that the good work of the Digital Citizens Alliance continues to uncover begins to turn back into just good money, supporting legitimate sites as it was intended.
Set against the rising popularity of legal streaming services, we can see the value of curbing ill-gotten ad revenue from piracy sites and steering it into the pockets of sites that actually pay content creators.
On-demand digital consumption of entertainment is fast becoming the norm, which makes setting up a trustworthy ad environment ahead of time all the more urgent. The steps that the TAG program is taking play a major role in making that happen and we commend GroupM for lining up alongside them so early in the process.