Click fraud from bots (and human click farms) are a genuine plague to the adtech industry. Sometimes in a rather anecdotic way (a small competitor clicking on your ads), but very often at an industrial scale, like this Italian hacker who defrauded advertisers for hundreds of thousands of dollars from 2011 to 2016, by creating a botnet clicking on banners displayed on his own websites.

50% of the global online traffic is generated by bots. Some of them are “good bots” (search engine crawlers, uptime checkers,…) but most of them (30% of the overall traffic)  are purposely developed to engage in all sorts of criminal activities: DDOS attacks, phishing and… advertising fraud.

The click fraud industry

Methbot, a Russian-based ad-fraud operation, recently managed to steal up to $5M a day (!) from premium advertisers, pushing click fraud to an unprecedented level of sophistication, targeting video impressions and plays, through hundreds of thousands of fake IP addresses. The Russian hackers even simulated mouse movements to make it look like there were real users behind the fake clicks!  

click fraud methbot

A recent report shows that $16.4 billion could be lost to ad fraud in 2017, with a majority of the damage attributed to blind programmatic advertising, i.e. advertisers distributing their campaigns in the dark alleys of a poorly controlled global market, on a ROE (Run Of Exchange) basis, instead of relying on vetted private marketplaces (PMPs). But even if you’re running your ads via PMPs, you can’t be sure that they won’t be seen or clicked by bots.

The issue of the open web is that anyone can create a website in a few minutes and start generating traffic, either legitimately or… illegally. It’s very easy to sign up for an Adsense account or, if your content isn’t rich or mainstream enough, with tier 2 providers offering a much lower compliance threshold. “Operating” in a high value niche (health, finance,…), the dodgy owners of gazillions of useless web properties are often tempted to generate fake clicks for a quick buck. That’s what those hackers are doing, at scale.

Emails = real people

If you’re looking for a secure environment to promote your brand, you should consider email advertising, by nature not exposed to click fraud. Premium email publishers (leading e-commerce players and media organizations) offer a direct access to a huge pool of qualified users with whom they entertain a strong relationship. Ividence, a market leader in people based programmatic advertising, can connect you in minutes to a large portfolio of publishers, all around the globe, and display your creatives in their newsletters, the ideal editorial environment  to reach real people, not bots.

The fact that you’re targeting people, not cookies, using a truly deterministic identifier – their email address – guarantees that you won’t display your message in front of the digital eyes of a silicon bot. Emails will be opened by genuine people and the clicks you’ll get will be coming from real fingers. Premium publishers constantly cleanse their email lists to maintain their domain’s reputation (sending emails to dead accounts generates high bounce rates with a risk of being flagged as a spammer). All user bases only consist of flesh and bone human beings. 

Contact Ividence to reach real people people, not bots.

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