Domain spoofing has been a problem for the ad Industry for many years now. The conversations surrounding the topic re-surfaced in late 2016 and again in late 2017 after two separate reports exposed how the how the ad industry was possibly losing millions each day to Bot views. These reports unearthed two scams namely, Methbot and Hyphbot that use a network of bots (computer generated users) to generate fake views to ads. The practice commonly known as Domain Spoofing.
The understanding of the term Domain Spoofing is largely limited to the idea of faked domains but unfortunately, it is more than that. As suggested in the WhiteOps report, the modus operandi looks something like this. People behind the Methbot operation first created thousands of websites that appeared to belong to well-known U.S. publishers, then they gamed programmatic (or automated) exchanges to sell video ads on those fake sites, following which they directed bots to “view” those ads and ultimately collecting the money advertisers paid for those clicks.
This is very similar to the movie industry losing out to privacy. Every year, the ad industry is losing out many million dollars to fake and fraudulent advertisers.
Here’s how they make it happen: just like a legitimate publisher, fake websites list their website inventories available for sale through a middleman or a network. Though ad exchanges have the technology to weed out such requests from such websites, the ad network changes how that inventory is presented in the ad exchange.
This is how marketers are made to believe that their buying ad space on legitimate, brand-friendly sites, however, in reality, ads end up running on sites catering to bot traffic. In many instances, ad agencies end up finger pointing on ad tech middlemen and that makes it even harder to catch nefarious behaviours. The main challenge is the complexity created by the presence of multiple players in the supply chain that makes it easy for anyone in the supply chain to push the responsibility to someone else.
Such a practice of domain spoofing hurts all the players in the supply chain, especially the publishers and advertisers. The advertiser spends its precious media dollars by putting ads in front of bots or on low-quality site. While on the other side, the reputable publisher never receives the bid request and loses out on much-needed revenue.
While tackling these issues is a daunting task and one that requires unfettered efforts. Vertoz is aware and has implemented the constant vigilance required to succeed in our quickly evolving landscape. Which is why Vertoz provides its users with a self- serve platform through which you can monitor the campaigns and its properties. Plus, with an advanced control panel where you can check your real-time data, reports, and you can get updates regarding your revenue. You can control performance and manage what you want. Also, as a member of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), Vertoz is proud to be amongst the few ad exchanges globally having implemented the ads.txt project on our platform, this is in a view to make it harder for fraudulent sellers to tout bogus inventory across ad exchanges.
To weed out domain spoofing and other such malpractices completely, all the members of the supply chain would have to work towards creating a conducive environment. Which is why brands and their agencies must be vigilant about who they do business with and find a demand-side platform that actively monitors inventory.