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Pilot Participants Included Nestle, McDonald’s, Virgin Media, O2/Telefonica, Unilever, Johnson & Johnson; GroupM, Havas, IPG, Mindshare, OMD, Zenith; 15+ Adtech Providers & Publishers

London, UK – 7 September 2020 – The Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) today announce the successful completion of a twelve-month cross-industry pilot programme to evaluate the feasibility and potential benefits of Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) to increase trust and transparency in digital advertising. Launched by JICWEBS last year prior to its merger with TAG, the pilot included participants from major brands including Nestle, Telefonica/O2, McDonald’s, Virgin Media, Unilever and Johnson & Johnson; agencies including GroupM, Havas, IPG, Mindshare, OMD, and Zenith; and more than 15 prominent ad tech providers and publishers spanning nearly every segment of the supply chain. “Building a more transparent ecosystem requires both innovation and collaboration, and this pilot has demonstrated our industry’s commitment to working together to quickly and thoroughly evaluate new technologies,” said Jules Kendrick, Managing Director UK & Europe for TAG. “Our pilot showed promising opportunities for a DLT platform, including the potential to achieve a ‘Shared Truth’ where the same data is recognized as valid and accurate across the supply chain. We look forward to expanding our consultative efforts to help ensure that every participant in the supply chain can be sure that ‘what you see is what I see.’” The results of the pilot helped demonstrate the potential of DLT for: • Supply Chain Transparency – Despite log level data availability and inconsistency issues, the TAG DLT Pilot successfully validated the use of a DLT platform as a unified data and reporting layer for the industry. DLT harmonises impression log level data to a common format, automates data access management, ensures data immutability, security and privacy - data recorded in the ledger is only be accessed on a need-to know basis via encryption keys under the control of the data provider - and streamlines the access to supply chain reconciled log level data via a single API. • Supply Chain Optimisation – The Pilot allowed participants to use Shared Truth to validate the execution of campaigns against a set of metrics reconciled among multiple vendors including discrepancies, measurability, viewability, brand safety or fraud prevention metrics. The focus of the Pilot was more on the validation and reconciliation of impressions against qualitative and quantitative metrics and less on the financial values. For DLT reconciled impressions, 34% were categorised as non-qualified and/or non-viewable. • Operational Efficiencies – The DLT platform successfully tested how smart contracts can automate business processes between ad buyers and sellers providing significant operational efficiencies. Research conducted with agencies indicated that programmatic teams spend up to 60% of their time downloading, formatting and reconciling data, compared with just 20% analysing it. Additionally, 59% of respondents thought campaign reporting and reconciliation would benefit most from automation.

“To address difficult cross-industry challenges, TAG helps create a collaborative environment for companies to share new ideas, exchange information, and set common standards,” said Mike Zaneis, CEO of TAG. “While DLT is still in its early stages, we believe this pilot not only highlights the potential for this type of technology but also the importance of working with stakeholders across industry to evaluate and find consensus on common standards.” To further evaluate both the opportunities and challenges facing a DLT industry consortium network, TAG plans to launch an industry consultation to share detailed information about the initiative and give stakeholders across the industry the opportunity to give their input to determine how best to move forward. Interested parties can contact TAG’s Director of Strategy and Standards, Adrian Lacey, for further details. The findings of the Pilot will be discussed at a CreaTech session ‘Where advertising meets technology’ on Monday (7 September at 12:40pm) as part of London Tech Week, featuring Jules Kendrick, MD UK and Europe, TAG; Fiducia CEO Tim Brown and IPA President and CEO of Publicis Sapient, Nigel Vaz. TAG partnered with London-based tech business FIDUCIA for the pilot, which ran from July 2019 to July 2020 and included 20 data feeds spanning Demand Side Platforms, Supply Side Platforms, Content Verification Tools, and Publishers. The pilot analysed 112 million impressions worth £1.4M across 127 campaigns. Reaction from participants: Nigel Vaz, IPA President and CEO Publicis Sapient: “For me the focus of this project is ultimately about digital advertising payments and reconciliation of the supply chain. While the internet made information accessible to everyone, we hope blockchain as a technology – and specifically DLT, as used in this pilot, will start to create accountability for the transactional aspects of the internet. “While driving efficiencies, it will also enable greater transparency in line with real, demanding regulatory requirements in a way that will allow us to regain the trust we’ve lost due to the evolving proliferation in this area.” Steven Pollock, Head of Media Communications for UK and Ireland, Nestlé: "Nestle is committed to being part of a transparent and accountable programmatic ecosystem. The JICWEBS DLT pilot is an important initiative in understanding how DLT can be a solution to many of the challenges that our market faces." Simon Reip, Head of Digital J3, UM (for Johnson & Johnson): “J&J and J3 are excited to be supporting the potentially groundbreaking JICWEBS DLT pilot, helping lay down the foundations to a more transparent programmatic ecosystem. Only together as a cross-industry consortium can we truly solve this problem, and it’s great to see so many partners willing to take part. Mia Mulch, Deputy Managing Director, OMG Programmatic at Omnicom Media Group: “Omnicom Media Group UK and our agencies are committed to being part of a transparent and accountable programmatic ecosystem. The JICWEBs DLT pilot is one key initiative in the UK that is helping to solve many of the challenges that programmatic faces.” Vittorio Capasso, Partner Development Manager, Adform: "We believe the JICWEBS DLT initiative will help the industry to improve transparency and trust, tackling the challenge with an innovative approach that will debinitely result in new solutions. We are happy to contribute to this project as we are committed to create a trusted advertising environment" Bal Singh, Programmatic Sales Director – UK, Aufeminin Groupe / Netmums

"Here at Netmums we believe providing end to end supply chain transparency is a win-win for all legitimate parties within the supply chain and is therefore why we believe a cross industry approach such as the JICWEBS initiative is the best way forward. Not only will it allow our clients to maximise their ad spend and reduce fraud, but it will allow more revenue to blow to premium publishers such as ourselves enabling us to create more quality content for our users. This is why we see initiative as not only important for us, but crucial for the success of our entire ecosystem."

About the Trustworthy Accountability Group

The Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) is the leading global certibication program bighting criminal activity and increasing trust in the digital advertising industry. Created by leading US industry trade organizations, TAG’s mission is to eliminate fraudulent trafbic, combat malware, prevent Internet piracy, and promote greater transparency in digital advertising. TAG advances those initiatives by bringing companies across the digital advertising supply chain together to set the highest standards. TAG is the birst and only registered Information Sharing and Analysis Organization (ISAO) for the digital advertising industry. For more information on TAG, please visit

Ad Industry’s Leading Anti-Fraud and Brand Safety Standards Organizations are merging as of September 1, 2020. Mike Zaneis to Serve as CEO, Jules Kendrick as Managing Director UK & Europe, for Consolidated Organization under TAG Brand.

London and New York - The digital advertising industry’s two leading anti-fraud and brand safety organizations, the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) and Joint Industry Committee for Web Standards (JICWEBS), today announced an agreement to merge. Mike Zaneis will serve as CEO for the combined organization – which will carry the TAG name – while JICWEBS’s Jules Kendrick will take the new role of Managing Director of UK and Europe. The merger will be completed in early September 2020.

JICWEBS and TAG announced a formal partnership in March 2017. Since then, the two organizations have aligned their programs to strengthen standards, avoid duplicative effort, and extend their reach. As part of that initial alignment, JICWEBS merged its anti-fraud efforts into the TAG Certified Against Fraud Program and encouraged its members to adopt the TAG Certified Against Malware and Certified Against Piracy Programs.

“This merger will ensure that companies around the world and across the supply chain can focus their efforts on a single trusted set of self-regulatory standards that address fraud, malware, piracy, and brand protection,” said Mike Zaneis, CEO of TAG. “From Manhattan to Manchester, Madrid to Macao, and Mumbai to Melbourne, every company in digital advertising can comply with TAG’s standards.”

“By bringing TAG and JICWEBS together, we are making it easier for every company in the supply chain to adopt the high standards necessary to protect themselves and their customers across the globe,” said Jules Kendrick, CEO of JICWEBS. “Rather than wading through an acronym soup of regional alternatives with differing standards, costs, and compliance requirements, companies can make sure they comply with one set of industry-wide certifications.”

Going forward, the combined organization will also harmonize the JICWEBS Digital Trading Standards Group (DTSG) with TAG’s Inventory Quality Guidelines (IQG) Program into a global brand safety certification program.

As part of the merger, the four UK-based trade bodies – the Association for Online Publishing (AOP), the Internet Advertising Bureau UK (IAB UK), the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA), and ISBA – the voice of British advertisers – will join TAG’s governing body, the TAG Leadership Council.

In addition to its JICWEBS relationship, TAG has been building global partnerships with other trade organizations for several years. Among those efforts:

  • TAG recently announced a partnership with the Chinese Advertising Association (CAA) to promote TAG’s programs to CAA’s 2,000 members in China. 

  • TAG previously announced a collaboration with GÜR, the Turkish platform for trustworthy digital advertising, as well as direct dialogue with a range of other national and regional industry associations. 

The cross-border benefits of TAG programs have been proven through research demonstrating dramatically lower fraud rates in TAG Certified Channels in Europe, Asia-Pacific, and the UK.

Additional Statements on the Merger: Marla Kaplowitz, President and CEO, 4A’s “While the industry formation of TAG in 2015 focused on the digital supply chain in the U.S., there was a need to address fraud, malware, and piracy at a global level. The merger of TAG with JICWEBS provides an important global standard that will be recognized by the advertising industry around the world. "

Bob Liodice, CEO, Association of National Advertisers “This merger marks a major step in the consolidation of industry standards designed to combat digital fraud and promote brand safety, and it couldn’t come at a better time. We now have an expanded and fortified source the global marketing industry can turn to in its ongoing quest to ensure a safe, transparent and trustworthy media environment for its brand messaging.”

Richard Reeves, Managing Director, Association for Online Publishing “The merger of JICWEBS and TAG provides a significant step forward in the alignment of common standards. The merger will help address the complexities associated with multiple market advertising activities, given the vast inconsistencies between different, indigenous standards - which is important for our member publisher brands who create original content consumed across many regions. This is much needed and an example of how collaboration is critical to upholding and aligning standards, demonstrating how we can not only simplify the process but also ensure the consistent high standards we should expect in our industry. We very much welcome the move.”

Randall Rothenberg, CEO, Interactive Advertising Bureau “Bringing together TAG and JICWEBS will support streamlining industry compliance across the globe. This will benefit brands, publishers, and the tech companies by creating more consistency and clarity in the best practices and technical standards they should adopt to improve trust and transparency in advertising.”

Jon Mew, CEO, IAB UK “Consolidating JICWEBS and TAG into one body reflects our global, interconnected industry and is a significant step towards collectively tackling issues such as brand safety at a global level, making it easier for players in the digital ad supply chain to seamlessly implement standards across regions. This is great news for transparency, accountability and standardisation within digital advertising.” 

Belinda Beeftink, Research Director, Institute of Practitioners in Advertising “The IPA welcomes the merger of JICWEBS and TAG, which will provide companies around the world with one set of standards ensuring that the standards set are of the highest order. We look forward to working with the TAG Leadership Council to promote industry-wide adoption.”

Phil Smith, Director General, ISBA "ISBA is delighted to back the coming together of JICWEBS and TAG to raise the bar for international standards in digital self-regulation. We look forward to working together on the TAG Leadership Council to drive industry-wide adoption."

More information on the Trustworthy Accountability Group and JICWEBS can be found at and

About JICWEBS JICWEBS defines best practice and standards for online ad trading in the UK and is made up of the following trade bodies: Association of Online Publishers (AOP), Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) UK, ISBA – the voice of British advertisers – and the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA). For more information on JICWEBS please visit

About the Trustworthy Accountability Group The Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) is the leading global certification program fighting criminal activity and increasing trust in the digital advertising industry. Created by leading US industry trade organizations, TAG’s mission is to eliminate fraudulent traffic, combat malware, prevent Internet piracy, and promote greater transparency in digital advertising. TAG advances those initiatives by bringing companies across the digital advertising supply chain together to set the highest standards. TAG is the first and only registered Information Sharing and Analysis Organization (ISAO) for the digital advertising industry. For more information on TAG, please visit

Learn how the UK ad industry is harnessing blockchain technology to manage the online digital ecosytem and promote trust and transparency at a free online event hosted by the Creative Industries Council.

You’ll hear from:

● Jules Kendrick, MD UK & Europe, Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG)

● Tim Brown, CEO, Fiducia 

● Nigel Vaz, Global CEO, Publicis Sapient & IPA President

The panel discussion is part of a day-long virtual #CreaTech event during London Tech Week on Monday September 7. The event celebrates the UK’s pioneering CreaTech community from across the creative and technology sectors.

Explore the programme and get your free ticket:

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