Google, Yahoo and AOL join industry-wide move to stamp out online ad misplacement and demonstrate trustworthiness to buyers

Google’s DoubleClick, Yahoo and AOL have become the latest brands to join the industry-wide move to tackle online ad misplacement and bolster brand safety.

The initiative, spearheaded by the Digital Trading Standards Group (DTSG), comprising the IAB, ISBA, IPA and JICWEBS trade bodies, have given a seal to each of the companies which confirms they meet industry-agreed standards to protect brand safety online.

The news takes the total number of companies to have been rubber stamped to 20 in the UK, with Microsoft, Exponential, Ad2One, Crimtan, IgnitionOne, Tubemogul, Vibrant Media, Quantcast, Specific Media, and Unruly already possessing DTSG seals of approval.

All companies have had their advertising misplacement policies and processes verified by independent third party JICWEBS – the UK’s Joint Industry Committee for Web Standards, which has confirmed that they meet the standards laid down to reduce the risk of online ads being served next to inappropriate or illegal content.

A further 18 companies have committed to undergo the verification process within six months.

The move marks a major step in the ongoing battle against ad misplacement, which has lately resulted in several advertisers being caught out on platforms such as YouTube. This saw a university pull its advertising from YouTube after it discovered it inadvertently had its ads appear alongside a video on Russian Life News’ channel showing graphic footage from the Malaysian Airlines MH17 disaster.

ISBA director of media and advertising Bob Wootton, said: “Advertisers have been calling for this type of commitment for over two and a half years so they can trust and embrace digital advertising. It’s particularly encouraging to see these web giants follow Microsoft’s lead.”

Nigel Gwilliam, IPA's consultant head of digital and emerging technologies, said the move is a “robust demonstration of trustworthiness "to buyers. "With another 18 set to join them within six months, the JICWEBS/DTSG seal has become an industry standard at an unprecedented pace,” he added.

Guy Phillipson, chief executive of the IAB UK, said: “Brand safety has never been more important to marketers, especially given the rapid rise of programmatic display. The impressive number of companies committed to this initiative is testament to the industry’s willingness to respond with audited best practice.”

Last year research from Project Sunblock revealed that 38 per cent of UK advertisers were unaware of where their ads were appearing online.

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