TAG To Merge With UK-Based Standards Group

The self-regulatory organizations Trustworthy Accountability Group and the UK's Joint Industry Committee for Web Standards will merge, the groups announced Wednesday.

The merger is expected to be finalized in early September.

The combined organization will keep the TAG name, and current CEO Mike Zaneis will serve as CEO of the merged association. JICWEBS chief executive Jules Kendrick will become managing director of UK and Europe.

The two groups, which first partnered in 2017, have already collaborated in developing standards for brand safety and fraud.

“There's been overlap all along,” Zaneis says. He adds that in 2017, TAG had a very broad anti-fraud program, while JICWEBS' was more nascent. The first collaboration between the two groups involved JICWEBS sunsetting its anti-fraud program and supporting TAG's.

Zaneis estimates the merger will result in an industry-wide cost savings of around $250,000, given that companies belonging to both organizations will now only pay one set of dues.

Currently, TAG has more than 650 members, while JICWEBS has around 120. Around 70 companies belong to both organizations.

Membership costs in both groups vary, depending on factors such as size and revenue. TAG membership is free for small companies and startups with less than $10 million a year in digital ad revenue, but can cost up to $30,000 a year for ad agencies and tech companies with “comprehensive memberships” -- meaning they're eligible for all of TAG's certification programs

JICWEBS' membership costs range from $2,400 a year to $50,000-$60,000 a year.

Companies that currently pay to belong to both groups will get credit toward their 2021 TAG membership, Zaneis says.

The merged organization will consolidate in some areas -- such as membership operations and administrative work -- Zaneis adds.

The merger follows more than two years of global expansion for TAG. In March of 2018, the organization opened a new office in London, and this April, TAG partnered with the China Advertising Association, a Beijing-based nonprofit.

As part of that partnership, the Chinese organization agreed to promote TAG's certification programs to members.

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