Fighting Ad Fraud? Go Undercover And Catch The Bad Guys With Bright Data

Learn how to combat ad fraud at the source with an IP Proxy Network
6 min read
Anti Ad Fraud graphic - catch the bad guys with Bright Data

The fraudulent market is only growing. The programmatic ad fraud report provided by Fraudlogix claims that 14.7% of all ad traffic was fraudulent in Q1 of 2019, an 11% increase from Q4 in 2018. This deception is seen in a variety of forms including the faking of impressions, clicks, installs, and placements to name a few.

Ads can be served based on a variety of parameters including geolocation, carriers, recently searched items and more. With all these options it may seem difficult to test online assets for compliance and validation but by becoming the target victim of fraudulent campaigns the truth can be revealed. Using a proxy network, companies can go ‘undercover’ and imitate the audience these fraudulent ads are catered to and in doing so, catch the bad actors and their malicious activities.

Along with the advances in technology used for malicious activity, there are companies out there with the sole mission of making ad fraud a thing of the past. Bright Data is the creator of the proprietary rotating IP Proxy Network technology that offers real residential IPs from device users (peers) that have opted-in from across the globe. These peers, all 72 million of them, are then utilized as exit nodes for online requests to simulate real customers which allows companies to go undercover, and in doing so, reveal the truth.

Malicious players are good at hiding their tracks. Bot detection in tandem with IP protection is employed to scan individuals and machines accessing domains. When a partner enters the site, they will see the ads they paid for however when a real customer enters, they see different ads or can be redirected to external sites. These acts are referred to as cloaking and to overcome this form of ad fraud, residential IPs are the solution.

“Companies not familiar with these practices are at risk of basing their crucial business decisions on incorrect data. There is a solution, however, that can bring back transparency to businesses by simulating ‘normal’ users to capture accurate information, IP Proxy networks” – Frost and Sullivan

The first step in ensuring advertising compliance is a means of accurately verifying the validity of your campaigns. To do so, you require the ability to imitate your target audience, and by utilizing a proxy network you can recreate the environment of your end-user. By using real-device IPs with the right targeting options you can truly verify all aspects of campaigns. By merely choosing an IP with your specific geographic targeting it is possible to guarantee the compliance of ads, their placement, the language being displayed and the context of campaigns regardless of how and where they are being served. This is helpful for Demand-side platforms (DSPs) Supply-side platforms (SSPs), ad servers and marketing agencies.

Even when working with mobile campaigns, a mobile 3G/4G/LTE proxy with carrier and ASN (Autonomous System Number) targeting will provide the ability for validation. Whether working with direct billing offers or app promotions which are created for display on mobile devices or targeted for specific carriers, a user can be emulated and campaigns verified.

The majority of campaigns are not served directly from an agency trading desk to a publisher and it can be difficult to retrace the steps or hops an affiliate link takes. To accurately test affiliate links, it is necessary to choose the IP type that mimics the target audience of the publishers’ site. By determining the path of your advertisements it is possible to troubleshoot slowdowns in the delivery chain and ensure no malicious players are involved. Viewing all the hops, redirects and how the ad looks when it is delivered provides a means of backlink monitoring, affiliate link checking and as well as a method of anti-ad fraud and malware protection.

Cheq’s report, ‘The Economic Cost of Bad Actors on the Internet’ states that ad fraud is expected to cost advertisers 23 Billion in 2019 and by implementing a system of verification companies can ensure they are not susceptible or contributing to these statistics.

In combating fraud, it is important to follow the entire supply chain in order to guarantee ad dollars are being spent on real campaigns. Many advertising companies have integrated proxy servers into their preexisting platform interface to catch fraud at the source. All campaigns are continuously verified, 3rd party data sources thoroughly vetted and proxies are being used to track supply, demand, and players in-between.

Proxies disclose the truth of actions online. Companies utilize this technology not only in their attempt at stomping out ad fraud but also to ensure the compliance of partners they work with. To avoid future issues, the use of proxy servers is incorporated into the vetting process of new companies allowing for the truth before any business dealings are initiated.

“The IP Proxy network is a relatively new industry, but one that is bringing back transparency to the web. Malicious advertisers recognize requests coming from servers, and serve up ‘safe’ ads to those requests, and may serve up malicious ads to ones coming from consumer IPs. The only way to get accurate information is to mimic a real user.” – Bright Data CEO Or Lenchner

Bright Data, the world’s largest residential proxy network, was created with the mission of bringing transparency back to the internet and this mission is not taken lightly. Bright Data maintains the industry’s most stringent compliance procedures based on deterrence, prevention, and enforcement to bolster our core values and ensure our network remains safe and ethical.

As the only fully compliant proxy network available, Bright Data ensures all of its customers are thoroughly vetted and require approval prior to being granted access to our peer-to-peer networks. Bright Data’s compliance officers review the proposed reason for network access and only then may a customer may begin the on-boarding procedure. This procedure utilizes a User compliance evaluation or ‘know your customer’ form to verify the user and/or company and only once the form has been completed and information provided verified than access is permitted. Our peer networks are closely monitored to identify unethical activity patterns such as click fraud and when recognized the culprit is immediately disabled.

By providing a means of emulating any network user, we are giving the power of verification back to the Adtech industry by allowing for the most accurate means of fraud prevention. In our attempts to fulfill our mission, Bright Data has partnered with some of the most well-known organizations in the digital landscape with similar ideologies including IAB Tech Lab in its goal of creating trust in the digital media ecosystem, AOP – advocates for quality original content and TAG the trustworthy accountability group.

Our mission is to make the Web’s unstructured data available to all businesses for making better business decisions. We make the Web transparent and we act with full transparency. – Bright Data CEO Or Lenchner