Videology: ‘Bot requests top $553m a year’

A report published today (17 May) by Videology has claims that it has observed 28 billion fraudulent ad requests over the last 12 months, with the ‘bot traffic’ amounting to the equivalent of $553.56m of ad spend; a figure that comes as leading figures in the industry have voiced concern over efforts to tackle the problem.

The was published after the video advertising outfit paired with anti-fraud outfit White Ops, and analyses video advertising requests across the globe, with Videology claiming to have saved its clients $8.5m worth of ad spend through the use of the fraud detection tool in 25 markets during the time.

White Ops uses deterministic technology to delineate between human, and non-human traffic (NHT), with the anti-fraud outfit claiming to be able to be able to differentiate between both forms of traffic. In addition, White Ops also claims it can detect both forms of traffic, even if they are generated by a single device, which has is being used by a human but also generating NHT after being compromised by a virus.

Scott Ferber, Videology, chief executive, said: “When ads are delivered to bots, instead of humans, those results don’t materialise. That’s why we took a proactive effort in blocking bots prior to ad delivery. Refunding marketers for advertising that’s never seen by humans doesn’t accomplish their marketing goals.”

Camilla Day, PHD UK’s director of programmatic, added: “We know it is an area of ongoing concern for digital advertising and are proud of our industry leading low NHT rates. It is important that our clients have complete confidence in the quality of media available digitally.”

Michael Tiffany, White Ops, chief executive, said: “We can’t sit idly by and let criminal organisations continue to collect money and degrade the value proposition of our industry. For digital advertising to continue to grow and prove worth, it’s essential we build an ecosystem with quality, trustworthy inventory.”

The announcement comes the week after leading figures within cross-industry trade body JICWEBS warned that the industry is likely to be plagued by fraudsters siphoning off such large amounts of cash from the advertising industry unless they agree to take more proactive action.

Speaking at an event hosted last week, the IAB’s Steve Chester, told attendees that unless the industry is prepared to better fund units of the police dedicated to disrupting ‘bad actors’, this situation is likely to continue.

Recounting a recent discussion he had with the police over the potential to pursue such criminals, he said: “They don’t have the money, but there is precedent in other industries such as the financial sector to fund the police in areas [to help them investigate against insurance fraud, etc.] where you have units of the police essentially funded by the industry, and that’s what we’re going to have to do.

“We’re going to have to get the industry to collectively and fund this thing. To make a blunt point: we as an industry will have to stump up a lot more money. At present we virtually put in nothing in terms of protecting this industry.”

This warning was followed later in the week by JICWEBS issuing further guidance to its constituents on how to tackle ad fraud, with the pan-industry trade body further announcing that it will issue seals of approval to ad tech companies that adhere to its guidelines.

Get The Drum Newsletter

Build your marketing knowledge by choosing from daily news bulletins or a weekly special.