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IAB’s DC exec to head up group to combat ad fraud

Mike Zaneis, president and chief executive officer, Trustworthy Accountability Group

Mike Zaneis, the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s top lobbyist in Washington, is leaving his position after eight years to head up the Trustworthy Accountability Group.

As soon as the IAB finds a replacement for Zaneis, he will become TAG’s president and CEO, a position he’s juggled for the past few months with his current role as IAB’s executive vice president of public policy and general counsel.

TAG was formed last year by the Association of National Advertisers, the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s) and the IAB, to eliminate advertising fraud, ad-supported piracy and malware that damage the $50 billion digital ad business.

Ad fraud—bot traffic that masquerades as people—is estimated to cost the business $6.3 billion, according to an industry-commissioned study by White Ops.

Washington has also had its eye on the advertising business, looking for the industry to help it put a stop to illegal activity on the Internet by preventing the flow of ad dollars that often appears on fraudulent and rogue sites.

“The focus won’t be on DC, but issues like data security, malware and anti-piracy obviously resonate in Washington,” said Zaneis, who will continue to be based in the nation’s capital. “We’re getting a lot of support from Capitol Hill on our initiatives and that goes a long way toward galvanizing the industry and combatting criminals,” he added.

Zaneis, whose roots are in policy said he’s looking forward to bridging policy and business. “The challenge requires a foot in both worlds,” he said of his new position.

TAG has already launched an anti-piracy program that helps marketers use third-party auditors like Ernst & Young, to certify that ad tech companies meet criteria to limit a marketer’s exposure to illegal or undesirable web sites.

The group also is on track to launch this fall a Fraud Threat List, a blacklist of fraudulent domains.

Both programs are just a start, Zaneis said.

“The threat list is just one piece of the puzzle. We’ll have other initiatives to combat fraud. We need multiple fronts to take the fight to criminals,” Zaneis promised.

TAG is in the process of staffing up, looking to add a couple of people in New York. The group will also leverage the technology capabilities of the IAB’s technology lab.

“TAG demands strong leadership at the helm – a CEO who has a deep understanding of the various stakeholders in the industry and the complex landscape to be navigated,” said Randall Rothenberg, IAB’s president and CEO. “Mike’s experience at IAB in bringing together diverse interests to create impactful solutions makes him perfectly suited for this role. Mike’s skills have helped our industry bring together the right policy leadership, technology expertise, and best practices, and he is the ideal candidate to lead TAG’s efforts going forward.”

Zaneis has represented the digital ad business since 2007, when he formed the IAB’s public policy office, building the industry’s legislative, regulatory and legal agenda. In that role, he also helped form the ad industry’s Digital Advertising Alliance, a self-regulatory program that gives consumers the opportunity to opt-out of behaviorally targeted ads.

Prior to the IAB, Zaneis was executive director of technology and e-commerce at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.