Online Click Fraud Hurting Businesses' Marketing Campaigns

By CIOReview | Tuesday, March 24, 2015
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FREMONT, CA: After reports emerged that advertisers will lose $6.3Bn globally to bots in 2015, big companies are now prepping up to beat the fraud. Companies including MillerCoors and AIG are now demanding proof of the authenticity of their ad viewership, reports Jennifer Saba and Jim Finkle for Reuters.

Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and White Ops – an online security company specializing in ad fraud detection – announced last December that botnet controllers are hijacking the identities of consumers and home machines to conduct ad fraud which may eventuate in a loss of $6.3Bn for advertisers globally in 2015.

The ANA and White Ops have together announced key recommendations for significant reduction of bot fraud through steps that include: advertising during waking hours; demanding transparency for sourced traffic; including language on non-human traffic in terms and conditions; announcing a business’ anti-fraud policy to all external partners; conducting independent monitoring and continual fraud analysis of advertising traffic.

"We don't want to be paying for non-human traffic," said Mark Clowes, global head of advertising at American International Group Inc (AIG.N), the largest commercial insurer in the country.

Businesses have taken steps to curb fraud in advertisements. One such initiative is the formation of Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG), a multi-industry collaborative effort built to combat advertising fraud.

"The marketplace is growing robustly, but there is now the beginning of a debate and a fear in agencies, that these huge investments in digital are being compromised by fraud," said Mike Zaneis of TAG, reports Sue Zeidler for TheStreet.

A new procedure that enables maintaining an active blacklist of suspected fraudulent publishers is also been considered by some industry members. A collaborative effort to work with third-party companies that monitor fraudulent sites and mandating URL verification by humans is also on the table as options for businesses to ensure that their investments are not taken for a ride.

Bot is essentially a computing machine infested with malicious software that plays an elemental role in generating false traffic. With the help of bots, visiting of webpage and clicking on an ad or watching a video is carried out in an automated fashion without any intervention from the human individual. Thus businesses would fail to get the insights that they look for in order to implement targeted marketing.