Google moves to crush advertising fraud on DoubleClick by upping supplier blacklist

Google has moved to stamp out advertising fraud on DoubleClick by proactively blacklisting suppliers of hidden ads, and filtering them before they can be bid on.

The internet giant, which has made numerous investments to reduce ad fraud across its network over the years to deter bad traffic and fraudulent ads, has reinforced its commitment to cracking down on those who flout its ad policies with the introduction of a new feature in DoubleClick Bid Manager.

The new feature has been designed to automatically prevent advertisers from buying ad slots, and has been built from its online ad fraud technology spider.io, which it acquired earlier this year.

Google group product manager Payam Shodjai said in a blog post that ad fraud continues to be caused by organised groups that “constantly change tactics” to defraud the industry for their own gains.

“Many in the industry are familiar with ad viewability, which is a measure of whether an ad was actually shown on a screen. The vast majority of non-viewable ad impressions are legitimate ads that are intended to be seen by a user, but were not viewed due to various ways people interact with content on the web, he said.

However, the continued efforts of those – which Google refers to as “bad actors” – who deliberately hide ads to boost their ad impression figures, result in advertisers paying for ads that have no chance of ever being seen.

“That’s why we’re always researching and updating our defences to ensure advertisers are getting the media they intend to purchase."

These “bad actors” often create sites and stack multiple ads in a single ad slot where only the top ad is visible, according to Shodjai.

“Or, they may adjust the styling of page content to make ads completely invisible. The typical approach, however, is to create a very small iframe to serve ads into that’s impossible for a user to see.”

"Even worse, some bad actors create adware that can inject hidden ads into a web page, without the publisher even realizing it," he said.

DoubleClick Bid Manager customers won't have to make any changes to benefit from the new defenses against hidden ad slots.

"We currently blacklist 2.6 per cent of the inventory accessed by DoubleClick Bid Manager across exchanges. However, we’ve found this percentage varies widely by provider...

"Stay tuned for more updates as we continue refining our tools to promote a healthy, safe advertising ecosystem," he said.

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