Spot The Fraud
September 1, 2014
As many in the ad-tech industry know, media buying is a challenging and repetitive role. One of the biggest challenges is identifying suspicious traffic and filtering it so as to prevent your clients from buying and selling non-human (bots) traffic to advertising networks.
In order to prevent this from happening, and aside from the most obvious methods (such as copy-pasting content and googling it), here are 5 tips that each media buyer should be aware of:
- Design – A few signals that can alarm media buyers are on the visual side – most of the fraud-related websites offer a similar design based on generic templates. They have a non-unique brand-adjusted design, basic fonts, colors not related to the logo, etc. In addition, you may notice the Favicon – fraud related sites use generic & repetitive favicons, nothing that has to do with the brand’s logo or color scheme. Sometimes they don’t even use any favicons at all.
- Content – Look for odd domain names (e.g – cleanyourshadesnow.org), sometimes with spelling mistakes within the domain name itself. Check if the content on the website is related to the domain name (for example, if familypetsscare.com leads to a website that deals with finance and insurance). Finally, the easiest ones to spot are the unrelated and un-designed sites offering minimal or no information at all, and just include various links.
- Ranks – Use websites like Alexa and SimilarWeb to check ranks, and analyze the data. Compare between the two services, and look for vivid differences between the ranks when checking the same domain.
- Non reasonable traffic sources – While analyzing a potential lead on Alexa or SimilarWeb, check the traffic sources. Look for an even distribution between SEO, referrals, direct, and social. If one of the traffic sources is significantly higher than the other, take caution.
- Ads and lack of ads on niche websites – Misleading banners on niche websites – For example fashion ads with financial headers on a finance website are suspicious. Also, well designed, highly ranked, niche websites that offer niche related content without banners should trigger an alarm.
Having said that, please note that the tips above serve as a guideline, and do not imply that websites as described above are always fraud-based.
There are several tools that can assist media buyers in detecting frauds efficiently, but they are no replacement to practical experience and good judgment. These tips essentially serve as a good start for every media buyer to spot the fraud.
Eran Ben Yehoshua is Media Buying Team Leader at dmg