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Editor-in-chief at The Drum

Web standards body unveils guidelines for media buyers to help combat ad fraud and budget wastage

UK industry web standards body JICWEBS has ramped up plans to root out online ad fraud unveiling a set of standardised guidelines for media buyers.

The guidelines provide details including what questions marketers should ask publishers and third party inventory sources to equip them with what they need to stifle fraudulent activity and reduce the risk of their exposure to it.

Although an ongoing issue, ad fraud remains rife across the industry and advertiser concern has heightened over the last year, with the Association of National Advertisers having estimated that online ad fraud could cost advertisers $6.3bn (£4bn) globally by the end of 2015.

The guidelines list everything from how traffic bots infect legitimate systems and generate false traffic, to how that is then monetised by fraudsters. It also includes a run-down of all the dubious tactics to be aware of from publishers which claim unlikely figures, while flagging how to prevent risk exposure within real-time bidding programmatic advertising environments.

JICWEBS chairman Richard Foan said the publishing of the new guidelines marks a “big step” in the cross-industry collaboration towards reducing the risk of online ad fraud.

“We aim to follow this with more information about the various types of fraud as well as reviewing companies that claim to apply the principles with the clear aim of promoting best-practice for all,” he added.

Companies which meet the industry-agreed standards will receive JICWEBS accreditation.

Daniel Creed, marketing strategy & planning, Santander, welcomed the new best practices, adding: "Tackling digital ad fraud is one of the most complex challenges currently facing advertisers. Gaining a better understanding of the issue is vital.

JICWEBS comprises industry ad bodies including the IAB, IPA, ISBA and AOP.

Click here to see a full copy of the guidelines.

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