The ad industry's Trustworthy Accountability Program is unveiling a new anti-fraud initiative with two components -- a registry of "verified" companies, and a new payment-identification system.
Starting today, online ad companies will be able to apply to TAG for verification. The organization will then conduct background checks on the applicants, and provide training to them, says CEO Mike Zaneis.
"If you want to get TAG certified, you have to make sure your platform is clean," Zaneis says.
Companies that apply will have to provide a tax ID number, corporate address, and the name of a "compliance officer" who will be responsible making sure the company meets its obligations.
The registry will be open to marketers, ad networks, agencies and publishers in the supply chain. The cost of joining will be $10,000 per year
After companies are certified, they will receive a unique identifier that can be passed along with every piece of inventory, Zaneis says.
In addition to the registry, TAG will roll out a payment-identification system that aims to prevent fraudsters from receiving payment.
Zaneis says that TAG is still building the technological platform for the unique identifiers, but that the program should be operational by January.
The major ad agency holding companies, Google, AOL, Rubicon Project, AppNexus and Index Exchange are among the businesses supporting the initiative.
The price tag alone will weed out the shady operators, even before any audit is conducted.
The price tag alone will also weed out any local advertiser/network for whom the cost of complexity just gets more and more expensive... And unsustainable.
The more adtech erodes its user base, the more it becomes the plaything of the rich and famous... The more unstable the whole edifice becomes.
Ask the Roman Empire what happens when you demand tribute after tribute off your local provinces.
Or else Google Joseph E Tainter.