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The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) recently updated their comprehensive Anti-Fraud Principles; three tenets that suppliers must embrace to rid our industry of the ultra-low quality ad traffic that perpetually plagues online advertisers, wastes ad spend, and undermines the trust in digital.  The principles center on (1) Fraud Detection which calls for suppliers to implement technological and business practices that better identify and prevent botnet and non-human traffic from being traded online, (2) Source Identification where suppliers provide assurances to buyers that inventory is  legitimate by providing the actual page URL where an ad placement will reside, and (3) Increase Transparency again on suppliers to provide details of the processes in place to meet the principles (1) and (2). You can view the IAB Anti-Fraud Principles and Ad Fraud Taxonomy here and you can read more from the IAB on Fraud here.

IAB Takes Major Steps Towards Establishing a Safer, More Trustworthy Supply Chain

‘Anti-Fraud Principles’ to Reduce the Monetization of Bad Traffic, While New Anti-Malware Working Group Identifies & Addresses Criminal ActivityNEW YORK, NY (September 16, 2014) – In an effort to address recent concerns regarding the criminal proliferation of malware and the sale of inventory that is created by that fraudulent traffic, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) has released its “Anti-Fraud Principles,” a series of three tenets meant to root poor-quality ad traffic out of the system once and for all. The trade organization has also created a new working group to identify and combat malware attacks throughout the digital supply chain. These are critical next steps in the IAB Trustworthy Supply Chain Initiative, which was launched earlier this year to address key challenges facing the digital marketing ecosystem.The introduction of the IAB “Anti-Fraud Principles” is an outgrowth of the work of the IAB Traffic of Good Intent Task Force, which is being expanded to encompass the whole of the advertising industry and will continue operation as the IAB Anti-Fraud Working Group. These principles serve as a solid foundation on which to identify and eliminate fraudulent traffic – and the inventory it creates – from the advertising pool:

  • Fraud Detection – Suppliers must implement technological and business practices to identify ad bots and illegitimate human activity, and prevent such traffic from being sold
  • Source Identification – Suppliers should provide assurances to buyers that inventory is from a legitimate source; one way to achieve this is by providing the specific URL of an ad placement
  • Process Transparency – Suppliers must provide details of the business and technical processes they have employed to meet the first two principles

As part of the “Anti-Fraud Principles,” IAB has developed a taxonomy that establishes common definitions around key terms in this space, such as, “Hijacked Device,” “Data-Center Traffic,” “AdWare Traffic,” “Proxy Traffic,” “Ad Tag Hijacking,” “Cookie-Stuffing,” and more. This taxonomy will assure that all parties in a transaction are using the same terms and have a shared understanding of anti-fraud efforts.

“Over the years, it has become clear that no company can fight ad fraud alone. We must come together as an industry to create an environment where illegitimate traffic is not tolerated,” said Mike Zaneis, Executive Vice President and General Council, IAB. “These principles, together with the accompanying ad fraud taxonomy, are huge first steps toward achieving this solidarity. By adhering to these guidelines, we as an industry can put a massive dent in ad fraud and take back control of the digital supply chain.”

“We thank the Traffic of Good Intent Task Force for getting us this far and look forward to executing the new Anti-Fraud Working Group’s expanded agenda,” said Scott Cunningham, Vice President of Technology and Ad Operations, IAB. “By pursuing an all-encompassing approach to this important issue, we can make a significant amount of progress in a short period of time – ensuring that marketers and all stakeholders feel confident in investing in digital advertising.”

In tandem, the trade organization is launching the IAB Anti-Malware Working Group, focused on defining a process for sharing information about malware attacks, while establishing a method for coordinating the industry in its defense against this criminal activity.

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Christopher Weiss is a grizzled and hoary veteran of online marketing with over 20 years on the technology front lines deep in the high-tech trenches. He is a Pragmatic Marketing, Inc. certified professional, published author, and award winning public speaker occasionally taking selected consultative incursions into the adtech theater of war. After an exhaustive Federal IT boot camp with the U.S. Department of Labor managing a legacy data migration, he took over as the Chief Technologist for User Technology Associates in Arlington Virginia. From that beachhead Mr. Weiss followed the battle lines of Internet integration to become Executive Director with USWeb and ultimately Vice President of Professional Services at the nefarious marchFIRST internet integration juggernaut. There he spearheaded large scale e-commerce skirmishes with allies like United Airlines, America Online, Citicorp and Harley-Davidson. When the dust of the bubble had finally settled, Chris found he had become a mercenary deeply entrenched in software and technology product management with several local and European start-ups combating network security, data management, and online marketing. In that service he has been honored with published victories in periodicals like PC Magazine, Washington Technology, Government Computer News, iMediaConnection, MediaPost, Adotas, and Federal Computer Weekly.

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