Instead Of Blacklisting Bots, Are You A Human Whitelists Humans

Are You A Human, a Detroit-based startup that helps marketers verify whether or not they are reaching actual humans, on Wednesday announced it has closed a $4.2 million Series A round of funding. Participants included Detroit Venture Partners, MDC Dream Ventures, Foundry Group Angels and NCT Ventures.

Additionally, the company has introduced the “Verified Human Whitelist,” a list of a claimed 200 million consumers Are You A Human has verified as, well, human.

Contradictory to its company name, Are You A Human does not actually ask consumers whether they are human. Instead, the company says its tech analyzes “natural user behavior across millions of sites.” The company says that after a single user has been “consistently authenticated as a human,” they are added to the whitelist and re-authenticated each day.

“Publishers, advertisers or service providers who integrate the Verified Human Whitelist, will know before a page loads whether or not a visitor is a pre-verified human and not a bot,” the company asserts in a release.

“The rise in verification companies is symptomatic of a larger problem -- namely, the Internet’s lack of better pathways for automated traffic,” stated Ben Trenda, CEO of Are You A Human. “The Verified Human Whitelist is unique in that it’s focused on real people first, rather than bots.”

Are You A Human is not the only verification company that verifies human traffic, but its approach to the bot problem as a whole does seem novel. In fact, it’s approach is to avoid the problem altogether. Why try to track and block the bots when it’s well-known that they constantly evolve? 

Rather than focusing on bots, then, Are You A Human is putting its focus on humans. It allows marketers to circumvent the bot problem, the company says. Are You A Human pegs its human whitelist as the TSA Precheck of the Internet. (Comparing yourself to the TSA may not be the best idea, but the analogy works anyway.)

"Our clients are investing more of their dollars in digital, but transparency continues to be lacking in many digital environments, particularly in the programmatic ad buying ecosystem,” stated Stuart Coleman, VP of digital strategy and investments at MDC Partners. MDC is using Are You A Human’s whitelist to verify human traffic, per the release.

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