UK And US Align On Digital Advertising Safety

I say "po-tay-ta" and you say "po-tar-toh" -- but at least we're now committed to not calling the whole thing off. To the contrary, the UK and US are merging their efforts to make internet advertising safer.

Timed, almost certainly, to coincide with that speech where P&G's Marc Pritchard lambasted the digital advertising industry for its failure to deal with murky waters, today's announcement of a join initiative sees the UK's JICWEBS and the US Trust Accountability Group (TAG) merge schemes.

That means the UK's Joint Industry Committee for Web Standards (JICWEBS) will take the lead on brand safety -- a programme that will be merged into TAG so it can be adopted both sides of the pond. It's a sensible decision because it was the original programme rolled out by the UK standards body and has had certification on offer for quite some time before fraud and viewability got a look in.

The current thinking is that TAG will endorse the current JICWEBS brand safety programme until 2019 when a new, combined programme will be agreed upon. 

Elsewhere, TAG is taking the lead on fraud. The JICWEB programme will be rolled into TAG's "Certified Against Fraud" by the end of year. Furthermore, UK brands can now sign up for TAG's "Certified Against Malware" and "Certified Against Privacy" initiative in the UK. 

It has to make sense, doesn't it? We may complain about the US duopoly of Google and Facebook dominating UK advertising, but it does at least mean that having consistent protection for brands either side of the pond makes sense. 

We may also wonder why we are accepting more US programmes than UK programmes being incorporated by TAG. I guess the main point is that protection is being aligned and we don't need to worry about who was the originator. It is worth remembering that the IAB UK viewability standard is simply a rubber stamping of the metric set out by the Media Rating Council in the US. The precedent of not having a turf war but simply getting on with agreeing standards is already set.

It had crossed my mind that this approach also speaks volumes about close trading ties between the UK and US once Britain has left the EU, but that might be stretching a point. 

However, the standout factor is that while bureaucrats and politicians are talking about the need to keep EU and UK standards aligned after Brexit, when it comes to digital marketing, the UK and the US have clearly showed what the markets are that matter the most and could benefit from alignment. 

So the so-called "special relationship" is back on. Trump has said a kind of apology for retweeting Britain First posts and said the UK is front of the line for a trade deal. In digital, the trade bodies haven't made a huge fuss. They have just got it done. All power to their elbow. 

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