The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) has published Anti-Fraud Principles in an attempt to stamp out adware and fraudulent ad traffic. Under these principles, the IAB has called upon ad networks, publishers and ad exchanges to implement technological and business practices in order to effectively identify illegitimate and fraudulent traffic by adopting the following principles:
- Fraud detection – identifying bots (devices generating clicks on ads – hijacked devices, crawlers masquerading as legitimate user, data-center traffic, and other similar non-human activity) and illegitimate human activity (which includes: (a) incentivized browsing: a human user that is offered payment or benefits to view or interact with ads; (b) AdWare traffic: a device where a user is present and additional html or ad calls are made by the AdWare independently of the content being requested by the user; (c) Proxy traffic: traffic that is routed through an intermediary proxy device or network where the ad is rendered in a user’s device where there is a real human user; and (d) other traffic that comes from humans co-opted into interacting with ads through means other than the ad itself);
- Source identification – providing assurances to buyers that the inventory is from a "legitimate" source, by identifying blind-sources generated traffic, and clearly signaling the specific placement URL to potential buyers. Publishers or their exchanges may choose to explicitly mask the URL, provided that a sufficient degree of trust is provided to the buyers; and
- Transparency – detailing the business and technical processes and methodologies that are employed to identify fraudulent traffic and to facilitate industry compliance.
These principles reflect the IAB’s approach to alert publishers and ad networks to the possibility that some ad-serving platforms can deceive users. As clarified by an IAB spokesman, the categories stipulated in the guidance are likely to be refined in the future when the IAB will issue a set of best practices, to more explicit types of adware or incentivized browsing that is fraudulent or illegitimate or deceptive than the current categories (as not all incentivized browsing and AdWare traffic are considered as being fraudulent).