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How P&G's Pritchard Helped Fuel TAG's Fight Against Ad Fraud

By Published on .

Marc Pritchard of P&G.
Marc Pritchard of P&G. Credit: David Hall

The Trustworthy Accountability Group, an industry watchdog primarily focused on fighting ad fraud, said Tuesday that the number of companies to have received its "Certified Against Fraud" seal has more than doubled since April, with 26 companies added since then.

The news comes roughly one year after Marc Pritchard, chief brand officer at Procter & Gamble, said his company would require "any entity touching digital media" to go through TAG's Certified Against Fraud program—or risk losing P&G business. P&G is regarded as the world's largest advertiser, spending some $4 billion each year.

"No question, when Marc Pritchard made his call to action it created an incredible amount of momentum around TAG," says Mike Zaneis CEO at TAG. "There's a saying on putting your money where your mouth is and in this case, it was billions of dollars."

Zaneis says Pritchard's statements helped convince companies that had been on the fence about pursuing accreditation, but he added that only 40% of its new members are P&G vendors, suggesting that the industry overall is attempting to deliver value to marketers in the fight against fraud.

"Companies aren't doing this because they want P&G money, but because other marketers are requiring it," Zaneis says. "And they want to get ahead of brand safety and fraud."

Zaneis also says participation in the industry-wide "ads.txt" initiative, which was created this year to stamp out "domain spoofing," will become one of TAG's Certified Against Fraud requirements next year.

TAG certified its first batch of companies in December 2016, a small crowd numbering only 17. The total today is 49, with 120 more in the review or approval process. Over 80 companies from outside the United States have signed up for TAG certification this year, a large bulk of which come from Europe and Asia, Zaneis says.

TAG's cornerstone anti-fraud certification program aims to thwart ad fraud by "tagging" everyone in the digital ad ecosystem, from buyers and sellers of media to ad fraud vendors and intermediaries.

Accreditation isn't free, as companies must pay at least $20,000 each year to keep the watchdog's Certified Against Fraud seal.

Meanwhile, nobody knows how much is lost to ad fraud each year because the digital ad ecosystem is too complex to tell. Some experts say fraud is declining this year, to $6 billion, while others say it is rising this year, to more than $16 billion. But the consensus is that it's significant enough to demand some kind of remedy.

These are the newly certified companies:

  • A+E Networks
  • Amazon Services LLC
  • BabyCenter
  • Carat
  • Centro
  • DataXu
  • Digital Remedy
  • Exponential
  • Eyeview
  • Facebook
  • GroundTruth
  • GumGum
  • Hulu
  • Kargo
  • LoopMe
  • Maman pour la Vie
  • MaxPoint Interactive
  • Media iQ
  • Meredith
  • Popsugar
  • ShareThis
  • Shazam
  • SpotX
  • Torrential Inc.
  • Unruly
  • Vevo

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