Piracy: IAB moves to launch Brand Safety Council to tackle ad fraud

IAB-Australia-logoThe Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) will meet on Friday to formalise a working group on online brand safety and combat the growing problem of ad fraud in the Australian market.

The group, which will be called the Brand Safety Council (BSC), comes amid concerns from advertisers and agencies around the increasingly common problem of online ads ending up on unsafe websites through tactics such as ad fraud or URL masking.

The BSC is an initiative of the IAB’s the Agency Advisory Board, headed by GroupM’s Danny Bass however the group has a wide membership including agency trading desks, vendors, and even technology companies such as Google.

“One of the things we will be pushing will be an agreement across all relevant parties to agree there is a standard for who we will deal with and how we deal with them,” Bass told Mumbrella. 

“More importantly we will work together to ensure we deal with the problem of people trying to defraud the system rather than play properly.”

CEO of the IAB Alice Manners confirmed the body would come under the industry association and would work to help combat the ongoing fight against ad fraud in Australia.

“The working group will come in under the IAB,” said Manners. “This is a key priority and a key issue for us. The Council is now formed and what I will be doing is ensuring it is a full industry perspective and we have all the right people involved in it.”

The working group has been driven by a number of key figures, including Timothy Whitfield from Xaxis and Stephen Hunt from Tubemogul.

“They are in the process of collecting information on blocking certain sellers, looking at adding certain domains to blacklists and certain resellers to blacklists,” said Manners.

“I saw it as something which needed to be come under one of the industry bodies.”

Whitfield said the Brand Safety Council would meet once a quarter and that a key part of this initiative was to drive awareness and cooperation.

“We need to raise the education level and make sure everyone is aware of what is going on and has a clear picture,” said Whitfield, who is operations director at Xaxis.

“If we all act as one then there is not finger pointing. It raises the best practice and awareness in the industry.”

The BSC was keen to emphasise that it was bringing together a number of parties which otherwise find themselves in competition.

Marc Lomas, managing director of Cadreon Australia said: “It sounds like a small step but it is actually a massive step to get all of us who are technically competing companies now all sharing and identifying these sites and globally blacklisting them.”

Whitfield also said they were open to working with other groups such as the Audited Media Association of Australia (AMAA) and Music Rights Australia which have said they want to work on an industry wide code of practice.

“The IAB has a large part to play in this but we are not preferring one over the other,” said Whitfield.

“The council is open to anyone who wants to participate and have had some great feedback from Alice and the IAB.”

Nic Christensen 



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