YouTube gets ad industry ‘brand safety’ seal of approval

For those of you who’ve been asleep for the past couple of years, YouTube has received a fair amount of flak over “inappropriate content.” Readers of the Rupert Murdoch stable of newspapers are entertained on an almost daily basis with the latest infraction: at the weekend it was pop-up brothels – well everything’s pop-up these days.

It’s all OK now though.

JICWEBS, the UK’s Joint Industry Committee for Web Standards, made up of trade bodies the Association of Online Publishers (AOP), Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) UK, ISBA (advertisers) and the IPA (agencies), has given YouTube its certification of brand safety.

YouTube was independently verified by auditing firm BPA Worldwide on how its processes met JICWEBS’ guidelines to reduce the risk of ads being served against inappropriate content. Reduce the risk, you’ll note.

IAB CEO Jon Mew says: “As a founder stakeholder, IAB UK is pleased to support the work of JICWEBS, and DTSG certification is a key requirement of our Gold Standard. This verification of YouTube is a significant step forward for our industry and shows their commitment to raising the standards of digital advertising. The increased transparency and trust that JICWEBS’ DTSG certification delivers further reduces the risk of misplacement and should be applauded.”

ISBA director general Phil Smith says: “We welcome this move from Google. Opening up to certification is an important part of the action needed to reassure advertisers that their investment is being protected.”

Google MD UK and Ireland Ronan Harris says: “Providing more transparency and visibility to our advertising partners remains important to us, so we are pleased YouTube has achieved certification for brand safety by JICWEBS. We remain committed to listening and working with the industry on cross-industry standards for digital advertising.”

Is it game over then? Unlikely as YouTube is so vast and open to access – the point of an online platform after all – that there are bound to be further controversial instances. It will be interesting to see what some of its more vocal critics make of the IAB decision.

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