The Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) is a group of people and businesses from throughout the digital advertising industry who have gotten together to help address the problem of ad fraud. They have been around for a while now, and have made some nice contributions to the fight against fraud. According to a new announcement, however, they have something in the works that could be a huge game changer when it comes to effectively fighting advertisement fraud activities.
They have just unveiled a new pilot program that identifies data centers that are known to be supplying fraudulent traffic. Many ad fraud criminals either build their own data centers, or infect data centers with some type of malware to gain control of the resources. These data centers are then used to generate massive amounts of traffic that ‘view’ and ‘click’ on the ads, which is where a significant amount of the fraud comes from.
Google, a member in TAG, has helped to lead this new project by supplying the group with information about fraudulent data centers. They gained much of this information through their acquisition of Spider.io, and armed with this TAG can build a system to effectively turn off access to ad inventory when traffic is coming from one of the known ‘bad player’ data centers.
TAG CEO Mike Zaneis said, “Google built an army of anti-fraud engineers around the Spider.io acquisition. They’ve spent a tremendous amount of time identifying this data center traffic and it’s as robust of a database as anyone in the world. It’s a great starting point for TAG, and we’ll build off that from the intelligence.”
In addition to Google supplying this information, many other major industry names are taking an active role in the project. The list includes Facebook, TubeMogul, Yahoo, MediaMath and others.
The new system is currently in a pilot mode, but is expected to conclude this portion of the project in October. Assuming there are no major issues at that time, the program could launch completely shortly after that.
If this system works properly it could effectively shut down some of the largest sources of fraudulent traffic going to any of the ad networks using the system. Since the largest ad networks will be on board, this could be a game changer. The total amount of ad traffic could go down quite significantly, but the overall quality will be much higher.
Zaneis commented that, “Even though it will present transitional challenges as you filter out high-performing bots, you’re investing in actual people and engaging actual customers. Ultimately the ROI on the ad spend will go up.”
This is obviously very exciting news for anyone who uses digital advertising. While it is certainly too early to say for sure, this is looking to be a big innovation to help fight ad fraud.