COLOGNE – The newly formed Brand Safety Institute and the Trustworthy Accountability Group are pushing the digital advertising industry to invest billions of dollars to fight criminal elements in the same way as the financial services industry has done. It’s a two-step process consisting of “a short game and a long game,” says Mike Zaneis, CEO of TAG, which along with other groups is working with the BSI.
“Short term, it’s always going to be Whac-A-Mole. The criminals are smart, they’re well funded. The industry needs to up its game,” Zaneis explains says in this interview with Beet.TV during TAG’s first visit to the annual DMEXCO conference.
Longer term, “As we harden our economic model against criminal actions, what we hope is that it will be harder for them to profit and they’ll start to look away. These are the same networks that used to be involved in online identity theft. They used to attack online banking systems.”
Formation of the BSI was announced in July and it will be working with TAG, the Coalition for Better Ads, the IAB Tech Lab and other related groups and suppliers. Instead of focusing on corporations, as these groups do, BSI’s mission is to supply professional training and certification.
In this manner, “the individual at the company understands what brand safety means and they can get certified as a Brand Safety Officer,” Zaneis says.
It was a lack of semantical unity that led to the creation of the BSI. “What we found was there was really a vacuum around thought leadership on what brand safety meant in the industry. So as we were interviewing senior leaders across the supply chain, we found the need for development of a more common taxonomy.”
The BSI and TAG have jointly issued a white paper titled Defining Brand Safety. Among other things, ranks the words most commonly associated with the term “brand safety” and assigned them categorical buckets where appropriate. For example, Piracy, Fraud and Malware are examples of criminal activity.
Just under three years old, TAG has been helping to weed out criminal activity in the digital media supply chain—a subset of overall brand safety—and issuing certification. There are some 350 TAG members in 28 countries across six continents.
Earlier this year, TAG opened an office in Europe. “We’ll expand into other regions as they continue to grow and engage with us,” Zaneis says.
Providing more transparency into the supply chain deters traditional “criminal networks” from eastern Ukraine, Russia, Southeast Asia and elsewhere “that are trying to defraud the industry and they have done that successfully to the tune of billions of dollars a year.
“We’ve proven that you can get five hundred percent cleaner inventory than if you just work across the industry. You can reduce eighty three percent of all invalid, non human traffic,” says Zaneis.
This interview is part of a series titled Advertising Reimagined: The View from DMEXCO 2018, presented by Criteo. Please find more videos from the series here.