Programmatic audience exchange OpenX today unveiled a more aggressive method of tracking the quality of online audience impressions sold through its exchange, taking the battle from a publisher’s page to a user’s browser. The new generation of its so-called “Traffic Quality Platform” relies on directly integrating tags on publishers pages that can detect when suspicious browser activity lands on them, and then automatically filtering out user traffic deemed fraudulent or of insufficient quality.
Among other things, the tags can identify when a user’s browser is operating unusually slowly in terms of loading content on pages, which is a surefire signal that it might be infected with malware that could be perpetrating fraudulent user behavior.
Previously, OpenX’s traffic quality efforts were based on a team of analysts manually evaluating user traffic to determine when fraudulent of unsavory activity was happening. Taking it to the browser is the next logical extension of what looks to be an ongoing “arms race” between the “bad guys” who develop malicious code to exploit fraudulent user activity in the programmatic audience marketplace, and the ad tech firms, publishers and exchanges that are trying to get ahead of it, says John Murphy, vice president-marketplace quality at OpenX, who is leading the new initiative.
Murphy says currently such behavior is only a few percentage points of total traffic activity passing through OpenX’s systems, but he says the new direct tag integrations with publishers is a step to reduce that further and to get out ahead of the next iteration of fraudulent traffic.
Murphy claims the new approach, gives advertisers and publishers the “earliest possible look” at potentially fraudulent activity by taking detection directly to the user’s browser.
Basically, he says, the technology detects and automatically blocks suspicious traffic based on patterns and norms defined by OpenX’s traffic quality team.Murphy says the code used to identify users’ browsers will have no perceptible effect on their performance, and theoretically could be used someday to inform consumers when their browsers are infected with suspicious code that might be slowing their systems down. But he says there is no immediately plan to promote it has an end-user benefit to consumers.