TAG Broadsides Pirates, Uses Pre-Bid Exclusion Lists

The ad industry organization Trustworthy Accountability Group is launching a new anti-piracy initiative that will draw on information compiled by companies that aim to guard against malvertising.

The program, “Project Brand Integrity 2.0,” involves creating a new master list of sites suspected of hosting pirated material. That list will combine information originally compiled by anti-malware vendors and some of the individual ad-tech companies participating in the “threat exchange” anti-malvertising program -- including demand side platforms, server side platforms and exchanges. 

Participating ad-tech companies will receive that master list, and then be able to evaluate the named sites and decide whether to exclude them from programmatic platforms.

The new program reflects the “tacit recognition that there's an interconnected threat between piracy sites and malvertising,” says Michael Lyden, the Trustworthy Accountability Group's vice president of threat intelligence, adding that many sites with infringing material also host malware-laden ads.



The original anti-piracy program, which launched in the U.S. in 2016, will be discontinued, Lyden says. That initiative involved tapping vendors to scan sites for infringing material, then privately notifying agencies and advertisers if their ads appeared on those sites.

That initial program was “effective but hard to scale,” the organization's CEO, Mike Zaneis, said in a statement. “It involved a time-consuming manual process of notifying advertisers when their ads were found on pirate sites.”

He added: “Although most advertisers took action when alerted to such misplacements, the money often had already changed hands, and the criminals quickly moved their efforts to new domains.”

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