GroupM Demands Ad Nets Enforce Anti-Piracy

WPP’s GroupM said on Wednesday that it will require the ad networks and exchanges it works with to participate in an anti-piracy initiative developed by the ad industry's Trustworthy Accountability Group.

Starting next year, GroupM will only insist that its ad-exchange partners use industry-certified providers of anti-piracy services, or become certified themselves. The certifications will be issued by the Trustworthy Accountability Group -- an initiative of the Association of National Advertisers, the American Association of Advertising Agencies and the Interactive Advertising Bureau.

GroupM's ultimate goal is to prevent its clients' ads from appearing on sites identified as "piracy" sites, says John Montgomery, the chairman of GroupM Connect, North America and co-chair of the Trustworthy Accountability Group's anti-piracy working group,

Montgomery adds that combating piracy has taken on new urgency in the last several years, because sites with pirated content often also have botnets associated with ad fraud. "As we looked deeper into pirate sites, we saw they're even more pernicious than we thought," he says.

News of GroupM's endorsement comes eight months after the Trustworthy Accountability Group announced it was launching a program to validate providers of anti-piracy services. That program calls for companies that offer anti-piracy services to be validated by outside auditors (including Ernst & Young and Stroz Friedberg) or to self-attest that they meet the validation standards.

To meet the standards, the anti-piracy vendors must have criteria to identify sites at risk of offering pirated content, and enable marketers and agencies to wield control over whether their ads appear on those sites.

Participating providers of anti-piracy services can display a “validated-against piracy” seal provided by TAG, while companies that hire the providers can display a “certified against piracy” seal by TAG.

The ad industry's anti-piracy program has been endorsed by outside groups including the Recording Industry Association of America and Motion Picture Association of America.

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