The industry's Trustworthy Accountability Group, which aims to combat online fraud, piracy and malware, will register its 500th member this week -- nearly doubling its size from one year ago, when 269 companies had been verified.
The organization, which formed in 2015, got a boost in membership from the Interactive Advertising Bureau's recent decision to require its general members to join. When the IAB announced the requirement, only around 100 IAB members also belonged to TAG.
Currently, one-third of TAG's members are small businesses with $10 million or less in digital ad revenue. Those companies are exempt from TAG's $10,000 registration fee.
Members that meet requirements aimed at rooting out fraud, piracy and malware, can obtain “certifications” from TAG. That fee also comes to $10,000, and is imposed on all companies that want to be certified.
Separately, TAG plans to make its new “threat exchange” platform available to all members in the next three to six months, according to CEO Mike Zaneis.
The platform, built by TruStar, allows companies to exchange information about matters like malware or fraud attacks. TAG has been testing the platform with around 10 companies for several months.
Zaneis says that late last year, beta testers foiled one malware attack after they noticed an infected ad and uploaded it to the platform.
“They were able to take the infected creative and go upstream to identify who was serving that creative,” Zaneis says. He adds that the platform participants were able to contact that company's compliance officer and identify the source of the malware within around 45 minutes.
But even if the new platform helps companies to identify and remove threats one at a time, malvertising overall may persist.
Still, Zaneis says the industry hopes to still have a “demonstrable impact” on fraud.
“The digital ad industry has been outgunned. We're trying to change that,” he says. “We want to make it more difficult for the criminals.”