How to Stop Bot Fraud

Last year, bot fraud represented a $7.2 billion global challenge to our industry. Like any challenge, it creates an opportunity to innovate and also to manifest our core values. We believe that transparency is the key to addressing the issue of bot fraud, and we’re making important and actionable progress in this area.

When ads are served that aren’t seen by humans, everyone loses. Fraud causes advertisers to spend money on problematic impressions, and opens buying platforms up to vulnerability. But wherever we look we see marketers implementing security measures intended to confront this issue head-on. According to the Association of National Advertisers and bot detection group White Ops, ad fraud represents a $6.5 billion problem facing the industry in 2017 – a reduction from the $7.2 billion lost last year.

Combatting bot fraud requires a collective effort from our industry, conducted with rigor, transparency, and good faith. This effort will make us collectively stronger and more able to address perhaps comparable challenges in the future. Along with our partners at Rocket Fuel, we’re firmly on board with IAB’s groundbreaking ads.txt initiative.

With the ads.txt initiative, publishers will soon be able to list authorized public sellers of digital inventory through ads.txt files. Our crawler will scan for ads.txt files on the top 10,000 websites where we buy ad inventory. This will allow us to easily identify and empower legitimate publishers.

The ads.txt initiative is a promising start, but from our standpoint it is only the beginning. This will be part of an ongoing effort we will all take together to combat bot fraud, and we will encourage and support our partners in the industry to join us in turning this challenge into an opportunity to evolve and change for the better.

To that end, we will share the data our crawler collects with the entire industry by charting the rate of adoption of ads.txt across publishers. With continuous monitoring and consistent publication, we will help facilitate smarter buyer decisions for those who don’t have crawlers of their own. This way, we can all work together to improve our ecosystem and outmaneuver bot fraud on an ongoing basis.

Transparency goes hand in hand with maximizing the value of every dollar our customers spend. Our customers need to know where their money is going, and our neighbors and colleagues need access to information to make better decisions. We treat security concerns as opportunities to innovate, advance, and strengthen our networks for a fast-paced future.

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