In December, an ad-fraud-prevention company discovered cybercriminals siphoning up to $5 million per day from US media companies. This operation, dubbed “Methbot,” is the single most profitable bot operation to date.
Here’s how it works: using automated web browsers run from fraudulently acquired IP addresses, the Methbot operation “watches” as many as 300 million video ads per day on falsified websites designed to look like premium publisher inventory. More than 6,000 premium domains were targeted and spoofed, enabling the operation to attract millions in real advertising dollars.
There may not yet be a way to stop Methbot—but because of the fraud-prevention measures we have in place, Methbot affected fewer than 0.002% of our clients’ impressions. Measures like:
- Partnering with third-party verification organizations like TAG, IAB, Peer39 and Integral Ad Science (IAS)
- Zero-tolerance policy for ad fraud violations
- Extensive vetting process for Conversant Private Exchange inventory
- Monitoring traffic, maintaining block lists and reviewing inventory for brand-safety concerns via our fraud lab
- Real-time domain verification on each ad call
- Identifying threats with custom-built fraud detection technology
- Confirming that ads reach real people with our 99%+ Human Guarantee
And we know it works. We outperformed IAS Fraud Benchmarks for Direct Publishers (2.2%) and Programmatic Publishers (8.3%) in Q4 2016, with an aggregate rate under 1%.
Ad fraud continues to be a massive problem in digital marketing, costing the industry $7 billion last year. If you’re concerned about becoming a target, get in touch. If you’d like to learn more about Conversant’s commitment to ad transparency, read our blog post.