Marketers And Agencies Pledge To Avoid Piracy Sites

More than 30 marketers and ad agencies have signed a voluntary pledge to take "commercially reasonable steps" to reduce the risk of placing ads on sites with pirated content, the industry organization Trustworthy Accountability Group said on Wednesday.

One way for companies to comply with the pledge is by working with ad networks and agencies that have been validated by TAG.

The pledge itself carries a disclaimer stating that some digital ads may appear on piracy sites despite the signatories' efforts. "In undertaking this pledge, we do not create legal liability for any such inadvertent advertising," the document states.

TAG CEO Mike Zaneis says he's hopeful that the anti-piracy efforts will also result in a reduction in ad fraud and malware. "Piracy, malware and fraud are all interrelated," he says. "They tend to be committed by the same criminal networks."

He adds that the new program aims to "take away the profit motive for ad fraud."

Agencies to sign on include GroupM, Horizon Media, Maxus Global, MediaCom, MediaVest, Mindshare, MEC, Neo@Ogilvy, Starcom Mediavest Group, VivaKi, Xaxis, and ZenithOptimedia Group. At least 20 advertisers have signed the pledge, including American Express, Colgate-Palmolive, Johnson & Johnson, The Walt Disney Company, Warner Bros., and Yamaha.

TAG also said on Tuesday that comScore, DoubleVerify, Incopro, Integral Ad Science, sovrn, Veri-Site, and whiteBULLET are completing a process to become validated as anti-piracy services providers. That process requires companies to show how they identify and filter out "risky" sites; it also requires companies to undergo third-party auditing. Other companies, including OpenX, Rocket Fuel, PubMatic, and SpotX have been certified through a self-attestation process.

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