The Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) has launched a “Certified Against Fraud” initiative, in a bid to remedy a thorn in the side of the display ad industry: non-human impressions.

The US-based organisation, formed of senior figures in digital marketing, will award “TAG Certified Against Fraud” seals to all parties invested in the display ad supply chain who meet pre-laid out requirements against fraudulent practices in advertising.  

Fraud has piggybacked on the explosive growth of digital advertising over the last decade, resulting in a predicted $7.2 billion worth of global campaign wastage for this year alone.  

TAG is a joint venture between the American Association of Advertising Agencies and IAB, and its certification is open to application from agencies, advertisers, ad platforms and publishers – all of whom will be hoping to create a safe haven for digital ad trading to take place.

Swift uptake

A number of performance marketing companies have already bought into the initiative, with Rocket Fuel, Sociomantic, AppNexus, Integral Ad Science, engage:BDR, DoubleVerify, MediaMath and OpenX just several who are prepared to stump up the $10,000 annual membership fee.

Applicants must also undergo a thorough background check and follow a number of steps to establish their place on the TAG network.

For direct buyers, including advertisers and agencies, that includes the appointment of a dedicated compliance officer to internally manage the relationship with TAG. In addition to this, direct sellers, such as publishers, must implement domain list filtering, data center IP list filtering, and publisher sourcing disclosures.

Intermediaries, such as ad networks, are required to facilitate all of these measures, as well as implementing TAG’s ‘Payment ID Protocol’.

Cleaning up

The introduction of the initiative marks another step forward in combating ad fraud, which continues to cause a lack of trust in the display advertising ecosystem. This is especially true within the realms of programmatic buying, where some have argued that only one third of ads are being served.

Despite this, there have been signs of improvement over in the UK. Positives have been taken from findings announced in line with a new auditing guide for British companies by JICWEBS (the Joint Industry Committee for Web Standards), designed to ensure participating groups’ processes mitigate the risk of a scam ad being published.