A History of Combatting Ad Fraud

Ad fraud has ebbed and flowed as a hot topic in the ad tech space over the years, despite the fact that malicious bots have been present since the beginning. Every now and then a new headline related to taking steps against ad fraud grabs marketers’ attention – and renews interest in this important fight. We should celebrate whenever any player in the market takes another step against combatting it, and luckily more and more players in the space are taking that leap and seeing the positive impact it has for their clients. And with each new announcement comes excitement, but also questions, as advertisers wonder what they’ve been paying for up until that point.

While we should celebrate these triumphs, let’s not over exaggerate or over simplify the problem. Fighting ad fraud is hard – it is an ongoing battle. We should know this, as we’ve been at it for quite some time now.

Videology launched our integration with White Ops to prevent bot fraud in early 2015. We have partnerships dating back as early as 2012 with DoubleVerify, Integral Ad Science and Moat to provide bot fraud reporting. We earned IAB Quality Assurance Guidelines (QAG) certification (now known as TAG’s Inventory Quality Guidelines) in 2014, and have subscribed to and followed the IAB/ABC International Spiders and Bots List since 2010. We also became a certified member of the new Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) in late 2015, which was launched by the IAB, 4As and ANA.

Partnering with White Ops for pre-bid bot fraud protection has allowed us to take a proactive stance against fraud. It was a bold move, as our clients experienced an impact on both scale and price when compared to our competitors – but, it had to be done and our clients appreciated, and still appreciate, our efforts.

We recently announced the results of this three-year integration with White Ops, which included the fact that to-date, we’ve saved advertisers billions of dollars, blocking 550 billion bot requests. We estimated that delivering ads to those 550 billion bot requests could have resulted in nearly $10 billion in fraudulent ad spend going to organizations perpetrating non-human interactions on advertising placements over that time.

And the fight is far from over: at Videology we’re on track to block nearly a trillion bot requests by early 2018 (for more information, you can read the press release here).

The long and short of it is that we’re happy more work is being done in the industry to fight fraud and that progress is being made. Without it, we’re weaker as an industry­. If fraud was allowed to perpetuate, the future of digital advertising would be perilous. We’re looking forward to seeing more and more ad tech players working together to eradicate ad fraud.

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