TAG, Google Program to Block Invalid Data-Center Traffic

The Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG), an industry association to fight criminal activities in digital advertising, has initiated a program to block illegitimate and non-human ad traffic originating from data centers.

In the pilot program, TAG will leverage Google’s database of data center IP addresses and then enhance it based on broader 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.

In May, Google’s blacklist filtered 8.9 percent of all clicks on DoubleClick Campaign Manager alone. Without filtering these 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,” Vegard Johnsen, product manager of Google ad traffic quality, wrote in a blog post.

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Other leading companies that 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 complementary to TAG’s Fraud Threat List that was announced 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 will be available by the end of 2015.

Homepage image via Shuttestock.

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