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Angry advertisers hope to seal fate of online ad fraud

Like many others, Bob Liodice is angry: He's had enough of being robbed by online advertising.

He's the president and CEO of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), which estimates that online advertising fraud could top US$7 billion this year.

Liodice and other industry figures are so angry about advertising fraud that they're hoping to stamp it out with a new certification program.

"Certified Against Fraud" is the brainchild of the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG), of which the ANA is one of the founders. It plans to award seals to advertising buyers, sellers, and intermediaries that meet its anti-fraud requirements.

To qualify for the seal, participants will have to comply with guidelines for detecting and filtering invalid traffic set by the Media Rating Council. Those selling advertising slots must also provide domain list filtering and data center IP list filtering, while intermediaries such as ad networks must additionally support TAG’s Payment ID protocol.

Advertisers might be surprised how little exposure of their message such guarantees provide, though: The Media Rating Council counts an ad as viewable if as little as half of it appears on screen for as little as one second. It counts video ads as viewed as long as at least half the ad is visible and at least two seconds of video is played.

Still, it's a step toward TAG's goal of fighting criminal activity in the online ad supply chain. The group was set up in March 2015 by ANA, the American Association of Advertising Agencies and the Interactive Advertising Bureau, and has the backing of some of the largest advertisers and website operators in the U.S., including Facebook, Google and Yahoo.

Facebook and Google aren't listed among the initial participants in the Certified Against Fraud Program, although Yahoo is. The others are Amobee, AppNexus, Collective, comScore, DoubleVerify, Dstillery, engage:BDR, Exponential, Forensiq, Horizon Media, Index Exchange, Integral Ad Science, Interpublic Group, MediaMath, Moat, ndp, News Corp, Omnicom Group, OpenX, Publicis Worldwide, RhythmOne, Rocket Fuel, Rubicon Project, Sociomantic, sovrn, SpotX, TubeMogul, White Ops, WPP, and Zemanta.

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