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IAB Releases Updated Quality Assurance Guidelines for Public Comment, Evolving Beyond Networks & Exchanges to Encompass All Buyers and Sellers

Expanded QAG 2.0 Program to Provide Brands Safety & Strengthen Trust Across the Digital Advertising Ecosystem

NEW YORK, NY (April 18, 2013) — To foster brand safety and transparency in the digital advertising supply chain the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) today released a draft for public comment of its updated Quality Assurance Guidelines compliance program (QAG 2.0). The most significant change from the QAG 1.0 program is the structural shift from “networks and exchanges,” to a much broader “buyers and sellers,” including large premium publishers, demand side platforms (DSPs), supply side platforms (SSPs), trading desks, agencies and marketers. This new construct more closely mirrors the diversity of the businesses in the digital advertising trading landscape. As with the earlier version, the revised guidelines will provide brand safety assurances to advertisers that their ads will not appear next to inappropriate content.

The program has grown to include programmatic buying, advertising across multiple devices, and the continued adoption of new interactive genres. The guidelines update the areas of and provide business disclosures around processes for:

  • Compliance
  • Mobile
  • Transparency/Display
  • Video
  • Programmatic/Auction Mechanics

“Transactions in digital advertising are by nature complex and ever-changing, with more than a million sites carrying advertising, and hundreds of technology vendors and stakeholders,” said Patrick Dolan, Executive Vice President and COO, IAB. “Without an established framework for common ground and uniform standards, trust becomes an issue for buyers and sellers. The expansion of the Quality Assurance Guidelines is critical for building trust, and identifying companies committed to transparency, brand safety and quality.”

Other changes highlighted in the new framework include:

  • A clear process for obtaining and representing certification
  • An optional independent validation of a company’s certification
  • Newly defined disclosure details, broken down into three phases: acquisition, evaluation, and execution

“The benefits of QAG 2.0 will resonate throughout the entire interactive industry, providing a comprehensive, evolved roadmap to raise the bar for quality, transparency, brand safety and mutual trust,” said Steve Sullivan, Vice President, Advertising Technology, IAB.

The new QAG program is the result of industry stakeholder input and the collective expertise of the IAB QAG 2.0 Task Force, which was formed in October 2012. The QAG 2.0 Task Force broadened its membership to included dozens of organizations from across the interactive ecosystem, specifically the networks and exchanges from the earlier program, as well as the new stakeholders – large publishers, demand side platforms (DSPs), supply side platforms (SSPs), trading desks, agencies and marketers.

The QAG 2.0 Task Force mission has been guided by The 614 Group, a global management consultancy founded by Rob Rasko, one of the authors of the original IAB Quality Assurance Guidelines.

“By providing clear, uniform standards and language that outline characteristics of advertising inventory and transactions across the digital advertising value chain, these industry-backed guidelines will reduce friction and foster a robust environment of trust assurance in the marketplace,” said Rob Rasko, Founder and Managing Partner, The 614 Group. “It has been a privilege to work with the passionate team on the task force and guide this process to a successful outcome.”

The updated program has attracted great interest already with more than 50 companies agreeing to participate prior to today’s release of the guidelines for public comment.

The IAB Network and Exchange Committee initially launched the QAG compliance program in 2010. Today’s release of the updated and expanded guidelines will allow relevant industry stakeholders to review the document and provide feedback and input. The deadline for public comment is May 20, 2013 and can be sent to the QAG 2.0 Task Force by emailing [email protected].

For more information about the IAB’s Quality Assurance Guidelines, please visit

About the IAB
The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) is comprised of more than 500 leading media and technology companies that are responsible for selling 86% of online advertising in the United States. On behalf of its members, the IAB is dedicated to the growth of the interactive advertising marketplace, of interactive’s share of total marketing spend, and of its members’ share of total marketing spend. The IAB educates marketers, agencies, media companies and the wider business community about the value of interactive advertising. Working with its member companies, the IAB evaluates and recommends standards and practices and fields critical research on interactive advertising. Founded in 1996, the IAB is headquartered in New York City with a Public Policy office in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit

IAB Media Contact
Laura Goldberg
[email protected]

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