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Wang Philip
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Combating Ad Fraud – Look Out for These Two Types of Traffic

Published on 6/12/2019
For additional information  Click Here

Combating Ad Fraud – Look Out for These Two Types of Traffic

The source of traffic is key data point you will want to keep an eye on when trying to determine whether you have issues with fraudulent impressions. Two types of traffic in particular you may want to look for is proxy traffic and data center traffic. While both of these types of traffic can certainly be legitimate, it is prudent for companies to exercise additional caution when dealing with these traffic sources.

Proxy Traffic

Commonly referred to as the Tor network, Tor just happens to be the most common proxy network. Tor browsing works by bouncing users’ communications through a distributed network of relays all around the world, effectively anonymizing users’ traffic. While proxy networks have a very legitimate use for individuals with privacy concerns as it prevents third parties from surveilling their internet connection to gather data such as what sites they visit and their physical location, it of course has less legitimate uses as well. By routing traffic through an intermediary proxy device, the traffic is anonymized, making it difficult or impossible to assess its quality.

With only roughly 2 million machines using the networks on a daily basis, Tor represents an incredibly small fraction (0.06%) of the total number of machines connected to the internet. While this makes it a lower ranking threat on the fraud scale, the number of users doubled in size last year and is something to keep an eye on if usage continues to grow.

Data Center Traffic

Data center impressions can be both legitimate and illegitimate. A legitimate example would be a corporate data center or a virtual private network (VPN), which allows employees to securely access the corporate intranet while traveling outside the office. On the other hand, traffic originating from data centers could be bot traffic programmed to masquerade as humans. The information-sharing platform being developed in the Anti-Fraud Working Group will include data center IP addresses identified to be running these fraudulent or deceptive software bots. Working with leading anti-fraud companies like DoubleVerify, we are proactively identifying and rooting out illegitimate data center traffic.

At SpotX, our internal brand safety team conducts audits of publishers’ traffic sourcing techniques to ensure we maintain quality traffic. Using tools such as SimilarWeb and Alexa, we can better understand publishers’ traffic and the composition of their audience. These tools allow us to see traffic coming in and going out of publishers’ sites and help to identify poor quality traffic, such as traffic originating from pop-ups, pop-unders, redirects, unsafe sites (adult sites, piracy sites, etc.) or generated using misleading tactics. We then blacklist sites we identify as having low quality traffic to maintain quality traffic.

I am an Internet fraud investigator. This is my first article here, what do you think?

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