TAG now requires publishers to adopt ads.txt

On January 18, the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) updated the certification guidelines for its Certified Against Fraud and Certified Against Piracy Seal Programs. According to a press release, the updated Certified Against Fraud Guidelines now require publishers to adopt and implement the ads.txt specification released by the IAB Tech Lab last May.

Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) is an advertising industry initiative to fight criminal activity in the digital advertising supply chain.

At the same time, TAG unveiled a new enforcement process for all of its certification programs that enable individuals and entities to submit allegations of non-compliance for review and potential action by TAG.

“As an industry-led initiative, TAG continuously adapts our programs and requirements to incorporate new best practices, block evolving criminal attacks, and meet the needs of our dynamically changing marketplace,” said Mike Zaneis, CEO of TAG. “These new guidelines put teeth in the ads.txt initiative by requiring publishers to adopt it in order to receive TAG’s Certified Against Fraud Seal, and they move the ad buying and publisher communities from support to action in the fight against ad-supported piracy by giving each a simple path to certification.”

To obtain TAG’s Certified Against Piracy Seal, ad buyers and publishers must meet the following requirements:

  1. Direct buyers must complete TAG Registration, be a TAG member in good standing, have a designated TAG compliance officer, attend annual anti-piracy training, comply with and fully operationalize TAG’s Anti-Piracy Pledge, and employ pirate mobile app filtering for all advertising displayed in a mobile app environment.
  2. Publishers must also meet the TAG Registration, good standing, compliance officer, and training requirements, as well as ensuring that their properties do not block or unduly restrict the use of anti-piracy software. Additional requirements differ depending on the degree to which publishers host user-generated content (UGC), including attestations regarding whether a publisher owns or licenses the rights to all content on owned and/or operated media properties, and addressing whether a publisher employs commercially available means to ensure that it does not host nor stream infringing content.

The new requirements will go into effect and be subject to TAG enforcement on July 1, 2018. Companies that currently hold the Certified Against Fraud and/or Certified Against Piracy Seals must come into compliance by that time, while new applicants for those certifications will be evaluated against the updated guidelines going forward.