IAB Unveils Anti-Fraud Effort, Forms Working Group

In an effort to make online advertising a safer place, the Interactive Advertising Bureau this morning unveiled “Anti-Fraud Principles” designed to address the proliferation of fraudulent advertising activities, including non-human traffic software scams. As part of the effort, the IAB said it has also formed a new “working group” to identify and combat “malware” and other threats to the digital advertising “supply chain.”

The IAB said the steps fall under the umbrella of the Trustworthy Supply Chain Initiative it formed earlier this year, and said the new principles “serve as a solid foundation on which to identify and eliminate fraudulent traffic - and the inventory it creates - from the advertising pool,” including:

  • Fraud Detection – Suppliers must implement technological and business practices to identify ad bots and illegitimate human activity, and prevent such traffic from being sold

  • Source Identification – Suppliers should provide assurances to buyers that inventory is from a legitimate source; one way to achieve this is by providing the specific URL of an ad placement

  • Process Transparency – Suppliers must provide details of the business and technical processes they have employed to meet the first two principles

The IAB said it has developed a “taxonomy that establishes common definitions around key terms in this space,” such as “Hijacked Device,” “Data-Center Traffic,” “AdWare Traffic,” “Proxy Traffic,” “Ad Tag Hijacking,” “Cookie-Stuffing,” and more. This taxonomy will assure that all parties in a transaction are using the same terms and have a shared understanding of anti-fraud efforts.

“Over the years, it has become clear that no company can fight ad fraud alone. We must come together as an industry to create an environment where illegitimate traffic is not tolerated,” stated Mike Zaneis, executive vice president and General Council, IAB. “These principles, together with the accompanying ad fraud taxonomy, are huge first steps toward achieving this solidarity. By adhering to these guidelines, we as an industry can put a massive dent in ad fraud and take back control of the digital supply chain.”
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