One of the biggest problems marketers today face is that when they buy online ads, they know that a huge percentage of their budget will be wasted on non-human traffic. When criminals set up sites to display ads and generate views and clicks, the marketers end up paying for this activity without enjoying any type of benefit from it. There have been many things done over the past year to help combat online ad fraud, but it is still one of the biggest problems facing the online community today.
The Trustworthy Accou8ntability Group, however, has set up a fairly simple platform that may do a lot to help combat this problem. They have created an industry blacklist that will publish all the sites that are known to participate in fraudulent advertising activities. The information will be gathered from a wide range of different companies, compiled, and then made available for all ad networks to review.
When ad networks detect sites that are on the blacklist, they can stop serving them advertisements, which will then prevent the criminals from profiting. While this system sounds simple on its surface, it can actually be extremely effective. It is giving the ad networks the tools they need to be able to evaluate whether or not certain sites are known, or suspected, of engaging in ad fraud in real time.
Keeping Up with the Fraudsters
One of the biggest challenges that face this platform is that those committing fraud can quickly create or infect new sites to get around the system. This is an issue that the group is well aware of. In fact, Mike Zaneis, the Chief Executive of the group, said “We’re trying to make it as hard as possible for criminals to profit by sharing intelligence.” He went on to say, “The list will be as automated as possible to update on short turnaround. We’re confident we can keep pace with criminal practices.”
The fact that multiple companies will be reporting to the blacklist will make it so that new problem sites can be identified very quickly. If the system works well enough, it could significantly cut down on the level of fraud that criminals are able to commit before they have to set up a whole new site. While creating sites or infecting existing ones is not exactly difficult for them, it does take some time and effort so anything that adds to this process is potentially effective.
Major Players Already Involved
Another thing that this blacklist has going for it is that there are several major companies already involved in the pilot program. Facebook, Yahoo and AOL, for example, have been working on this project already. As it continues to grow, more of the major ad networks and others in the industry will undoubtedly sign on, which will only make the list that much more powerful.
Even if this is not the silver bullet that will effectively end ad fraud, it is certainly a step in the right direction. Hopefully it will be adopted by all the major players so that it can become as effective as possible.