AdTheorent Adds Its Own Layer Of Fraud Detection To Mobile Environment

AdTheorent, a mobile ad network that supports real-time bidding (RTB), on Monday announced new fraud detection technology that it claims significantly cleans up the supply chain in mobile programmatic advertising. The fraud detection tech spans both in-app inventory and the mobile Web.

The company noticed that it was “still seeing a good amount of fraud in inventory that was third-party verified,” said Jim Lawson, managing partner and chief legal officer at AdTheorent. So it decided to add a layer of detection and prevention of its own. The tech will “run parallel to, not in lieu of, client-specified third-party verification tools,” Lawson explained.

The company built the technology itself on the back of the mobile data it has collected since launching in 2011.

“Because of where we are in the ecosystem, we have access to data that third-party verification tools do not, so we are able to detect additional fraud,” claimed Lawson.



The tool detects two types of fraudulent traffic: bot traffic and bad supply. Bot traffic is self-explanatory -- the company looks for “telltale signs” of non-human traffic and blocks inventory coming from those sources. An example of “bad supply” traffic is traffic that comes through a proxy, explained Lawson.

The company also scans all mobile Web sites and apps for “anomalies and abnormal behavior,” said Lawson. It creates a "qualitative" grade for each publisher. Those that aren't up to snuff on the fraud front get nixed from AdTheorent's inventory.

AdTheorent is essentially creating a waterfall approach to fighting fraud. Its new tech is the safety net underneath the safety net of third-party measurement vendors. AdTheorent receives traffic from mobile ad exchanges, and Lawson said if they detect fraud, they simply don't bid on it.

Lawson acknowledged that AdTheorent cannot guarantee that absolutely no fraudulent traffic will successfully dance through the hoops -- “fraud can and will evolve and change,” he said -- but he noted that AdTheorent relies on machine-learning algorithms to identify suspicious behavior, so as fraud evolves, so too will AdTheorent’s tactics.

AdTheorent is not the only tech company making moves to combat digital ad fraud. For example, last week AppNexus unveiled its new program to deter fraud. In addition, Google has been secretly fighting fraud by building out an anti-ad fraud team.

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