It was recently announced that the digital advertising industry’s leading anti-fraud and brand safety organizations, the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) and the Joint Industry Committee for Web Standards (JICWEBS) will merge, effective as of September 2020.  

TAG was initially formed in 2015 by U.S. industry trade organizations, to focus on addressing issues of fraud, malware, piracy, and lack of transparency in the digital advertising supply chain in the U.S.   JICWEBS has played a similar role in the UK, defining best practices and standards for online ad trading in the UK, with the support of the leading UK industry trade organizations.  This move will allow ad industry players to combat issues like brand safety and fraud on a global level and make it easier for them to implement a single set of standards across regions.

TAG and JICWEBS have already been working together since 2017 to align certain of their standards and extend their global reach.  For example, JICWEBS previously 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.  Going forward, the combined organization will also harmonize the JICWEBS Digital Trading Standards Group (DTSG) with TAG’s Inventory Quality Guidelines (IQG) Program into a global brand safety certification program.

In the press release announcing the merger, Mike Zaneis, CEO of the combined organization, explained its benefits as follows:

"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."

The press release noted that the cross-border adoption of TAG’s anti-fraud standards have already led to positive results,  as research has demonstrated dramatically lower fraud rates in TAG Certified Channels in Europe, Asia-Pacific, and the UK.