Incorporating Bot Detection In IAB's OpenRTB Group

It's tough to fight fraud if you can't even find it. The Rubicon Project today announced a proposed protocol extension to the IAB OpenRTB & Exchange Infrastructure Working Group. The new protocol would require impressions to be classified in real-time by bidders and exchanges, essentially acting as a fraud detector that is updated in real-time.

To help understand why this is important, RTM Daily spoke with Jeremy Fain, vice president of client services at Rubicon Project. He said that the OpenRTB group allows partners to communicate back and forth with each other behind closed doors, noting that if the fraud creators got their hands on security protocols, they would be able to create work arounds.

When it comes to a list of priorities in dealing with bots, Fain said that detection was at the top of the list for Rubicon. "I can't speak for the rest of the industry, but detection and expulsion are absolute priorities [at Rubicon]."



Large scale bot detection is not something that can be done by humans or machines alone. "Tech is really good at detecting broad patterns," Fain said, but he added that "it's not humans first or tech first - it's humans and tech together."

The technology side of it is that once an individual player detects suspicious activity, they can send the information out automatically to each individual partner in the OpenRTB group. From there, each company can do as they wish with the specific information, but this new tech keeps an automated, updated record of what to be on the lookout for.

In an earlier statement, Rubicon Project President Greg Raifman said, "This is a topic of considerable concern within our industry, and we believe that it must be addressed by the entire industry in a collaborative way. It’s not a demand-side problem or a supply-side problem. Everyone in advertising technology has a role and stake here."

The problem is a continuous one, and one that will never fully go away. However, Fain argued that despite the somewhat reactionary nature of the cat and mouse game between bots and those they affect, the OpenRTB group and the new detection tech is good at being proactive because it's continuously being updated.

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