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Digital Citizens News

Ad Industry Leaders Share Inaugural Digital Citizens of the Year Award

Published Thursday, October 2, 2014

Bob Liodice, Randall Rothenberg Honored for Dedication to Fighting Digital Fraud

New York – Consumer online watchdog Digital Citizens Alliance today honored two of advertising’s leading voices against online crime. Bob Liodice, President and CEO of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), and Randall Rothenberg, President and CEO of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), received their awards – the Alliance’s first ever – during an event at Advertising Week 2014 in New York.

“If we want the Internet to reach its potential, we need to make sure it is a safer place for consumers,” said Digital Citizens Alliance Executive Director Tom Galvin. “Bob and Randy are launching initiatives that can make a difference. They are keeping the conversation on dangerous digital advertising practices going between stakeholders, Capitol Hill, and the general public. I admire their dedication to doing the right thing.”

The two CEOs have spoken out about the incidence of ads on rogue sites. “Good Money Gone Bad,” a report this year by the Digital Citizens Alliance and strategic advisory firm MediaLink, found that 596 sites sharing movies without legal authorization made an estimated $227 million from advertising in 2013. Liodice and Rothenberg are spearheading the conversation about better practices that will protect advertisers from having their ads inadvertently placed on such sites.

“I am very honored to broker the conversation between these two thought leaders at such a pivotal moment in time. As we move forward, it is critical to the industry that we acknowledge the gravity of this issue and align our collective forces to ensure it is eliminated in the very near future,” said Wenda Harris Millard, President and COO of MediaLink.

Liodice, whose organization represents ad buyers, has been leading the discussion in the industry. In a much-discussed editorial published in Ad Age, he wrote: “Unintentionally, marketers are helping legitimize intellectual-property infringement. Leaders in our community are quickly realizing that if we do not curb this problem, it will generate negative outcomes for brands.”

Liodice is also one of the architects of “The Marketers’ Coalition,” an ANA research project to measure bot fraud in the digital advertising industry.

Rothenberg and IAB created the “Trustworthy Digital Supply Chain Initiative,” which calls on members, largely sellers of ad inventory, to take five steps to improve behavior in the industry:

  • Eliminate Fraudulent Traffic
  • Combat Malware
  • Fight Internet Piracy
  • Promote Brand Safety through greater Transparency
  • Create Accountability

Rothenberg also took his message to the industry, writing in an editorial for Business Insider: “The digital advertising industry must stop having unprotected sex. We need a standard-setting body, a trust monitor, to guarantee the sanctity and probity of the digital advertising supply chain.”

For courageous statements and actions like these, Digital Citizens and MediaLink salute both Liodice and Rothenberg for their actions to make the Internet advertising ecosystems simpler and smarter for all.


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