woman frustrated with open laptop and ad fraud

Why a Publisher Needs Ad Fraud Protection

May 1, 2018

Ad fraud isn’t just contained to one sector of digital advertising; the entire supply chain is affected. Since the industry focus tends to be on how ad fraud affects advertisers, most publishers assume ad fraud doesn’t apply to them. After all, publishers only see a small percentage of bots on their own sites.  

Fraudsters are taking advantage of this perception, using bots and other nefarious methods to siphon ad revenue away from publishers. Over time those ad dollars quickly add up. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Here’s why publishers need an ad fraud solution.

Ad Fraud Is Always Evolving

Fraudsters are crafty and use multiple types of ad fraud to scam the system. And just when you think you’ve got a grasp on their fraudulent methods, they switch it up. Common ones that affect publishers include:

Domain Spoofing. This type of fraud can hit a publisher without anyone ever knowing. Here, fraudsters change the URL of their sites to mimic a reputable one (e.g. Amazon.com vs Amazonz.com). Implementing ads.txt is one way to safeguard against domain spoofing.

Ad Injection. Fraud occurs when software “injects” ads on sites without permission. Typically, the malware is downloaded, unknowingly, via a browser extension or toolbar.  

Ad Injection on Walmart

Pixel Stuffing. Multiple ads are served into a single pixel on a web page. Users are unable to see the ads hidden behind the main one, yet advertisers still have to pay for the views.  

Authorized Sources. To meet traffic demand, some publishers opt to acquire traffic from unauthorized sources, which opens the door for fraudsters.

Staying ahead of fraudsters isn’t easy. But an ad fraud solution, particularly one that focuses on real-time ad fraud detection, can help.

It Hits Publishers’ Wallets (and Brand Safety) Hard

When a large chunk of digital ad revenue is being wasted on fraudulent impressions, that piece of the pie diminishes, leaving less to be earned by publishers. Over time that hurts revenue. And to recoup that lost money isn’t easy if your brand safety is being affected as well.

Advertisers want to work with legitimate publishers who will ensure safe ad placement. It’s not worth cutting corners and purchasing cheap traffic, which opens the door to ad fraud.

Several digital publishers experienced this firsthand when they bought cheap traffic that turned out to be fraudulent. The fake traffic ended up being sent to pages that had ads for big name brands like KFC, JPMorgan Chase, and Amazon. Ouch.


If you’re only selling bad traffic, you’re naturally going to lose clients. To make sure you’re selling clean, converting traffic you need ad fraud protection to identify the bad actors.

So, Which Solution Do You Choose?  

Not all ad fraud protection is cut from the same cloth, and their solution may not be the best fit for your brand. Some platforms focus on vanity metrics, which can be easily manipulated and aren’t true metrics.

Before you commit, do your homework. Look for a solution that focuses on the person viewing the ad, not if the ad is being viewed. The goal is to find a platform based on true performance, and ideally lets you try the product before buying. Only then can you decide if it’s the right fit for you.

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