The Media Trust’s Gold Shield Program Recognizes Ad Quality Excellence

Major digital advertising companies awarded Gold Shield to celebrate their commitment to protecting consumers from malware and malvertising

The Media Trust, global leader in quantifying and managing digital risk, is proud to introduce the Gold Shield program, which showcases digital advertising companies’ dedication to protecting digital consumers by employing the highest standards of ad quality. To earn this seal of distinction, the inaugural Gold Shield recipients have demonstrated impressive diligence in identifying and removing malware from their platforms.

The first companies to wield the Gold Shield include:

  • Adobe Advertising Cloud
  • Index Exchange
  • Viant
  • Yahoo

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“In a super competitive AdTech marketplace, a reputation for high-quality advertising is becoming a crucial distinction,” said Chris Olson, CEO of The Media Trust. “But revenue isn’t the only driver behind these AdTech platforms’ intense scrutiny of the myriad ads running through their platforms—they’re committed to the safety and well-being of consumers, which is why The Media Trust recognizes these remarkable companies with Gold Shields.”

The Gold Shield is a true differentiator in digital advertising as many AdTech companies claim they are committed to stopping malware and promoting overall ad quality without incorporating the necessary tools and resources. This lack of concern exacerbates the challenges of malvertising and low-quality ads for other platforms and publishers, and is increasingly putting consumers at risk by exposing them to digital threats like backdoors that infect systems by circumventing authentication; phishing outbreaks that steal personally identifiable information or defraud consumers; and even ransomware attacks that can cost individuals and organizations hundreds of thousands of dollars or more. Threat actors have only been emboldened by their success—over the last year, The Media Trust’s Digital Security & Operations team has detected a ~2X rise in unique malware attacks compared to 2020.

A no-cost program, Gold Shield was created to elevate digital advertising companies dedicated to beating back this malware menace and keeping consumers safe. This means applying tools and resources to keep abreast of emerging threats and ensure ads are clear of malware and other harmful content, as well as staying on top of the latest trends in malvertising and ad quality.

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Among other criteria, participants are required to:

  • Employ high tag- and clickthrough-scanning rates to ensure ads and landing pages are malware-free and of generally high quality;
  • Participate in The Media Trust’s Gold Shield Working Groups that bring ad platforms together to develop best practices around ad quality;
  • Complete the Interactive Advertising Bureau course, Introduction to Malware and Ad Quality, and receive certification; and
  • Be certified by the Trustworthy and Accountability Group (TAG) for Malvertising or Brand Safety.

”Securing the programmatic supply chain against malvertising requires a collaborative effort from the industry,” said Azma Gohar, Director of Compliance at Index Exchange. “We’re committed to delivering malware-free demand to our publisher partners and safeguarding end-users; participating in The Media Trust’s Gold Shield Program is a critical component of our prevention program.”

Furthermore, the Gold Shield demonstrates to publishers and other AdTech platforms (downstream or upstream) that the recipient company is a premium, well-lit advertising marketplace and can serve as a trusted partner. Gold Shield emblems will be displayed within The Media Trust’s platform dashboards that are used by brand advertisers and publishers alike to evaluate the caliber of AdTech companies and their impact on user experience.

“At Viant, we’re committed to high-quality, safe consumer advertising experiences,” said Jon Ahuna, Senior Vice President of Technical Operations at Viant. “It is an honor to be recognized by The Media Trust’s Gold Shield program, a trusted partner with a like-minded commitment to applying rigorous industry standards that protect both inventory value and the end-user experience.”

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