The Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG), is an industry group created to fight criminal activities in digital advertising, lately has initiated a program to block illegitimate and non-human ad traffic originating from data centers.
Data center traffic is one of many types of nonhuman or illegitimate ad traffic. TAG’s new program will tap into Google’s internal data-center blacklist to filter software generated website visitors or robots that are ran in data centers.
In this pilot program, TAG is looking to leverage Google’s database of data center IP addresses and then enhance it based on the much larger industry intelligence. Google’s shared blacklist can help identify bots that are being run in data centers but usually avoid detection by the IAB/ABC International Spiders & Bots List. These bots are hard to detect because they masquerade as human visitors by using User-Agent strings that are indistinguishable from those of typical Web browsers.
Last May, Google has managed to filter and blacklist 8.9 percent of all clicks on DoubleClick Campaign Manager alone. Without filtering these non-valid and fraudulent clicks, click-through rates would have been inflated, leading to a big financial loss for advertisers.
“By contributing our data-center blacklist to TAG, we hope to help others in the industry protect themselves,” stated Vegard Johnsen, product manager of Google ad traffic quality.
Other leading companies that are to participate in TAG’s new program include Facebook, Yahoo, Quantcast and Rubicon Project.
“We are committed to working on collaborative technology with other industry leaders who share our belief that a clean, well-lit and high-quality advertising marketplace is in the best interest of not only advertisers, but publishers and consumers as well,” says Dr. Neal Richter, chief technology officer for Rubicon Project.
The new program is an added complement to TAG’s Fraud Threat List that was announced earlier in May. The TAG Anti-Fraud Working Group will soon release a set of principles for public comments that will be incorporated in the final program. The ad-fraud tool is expected to be available by the end of 2015.