July 21, 2015

Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) and Digital Ad Leaders Announce New Program to Block Fraudulent Data Center Traffic

Google Shares Internal Data Center Intelligence to Seed Collaborative Effort; New Program Complements TAG Fraud Threat List Announced in May

NEW YORK, NY (July 21, 2015) — The Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG), an advertising industry initiative to fight criminal activity in the digital advertising supply chain, today announced a new program to block illegitimate and non-human ad traffic originating from data centers.

In launching the pilot program, TAG will initially use Google’s database of data center IP addresses and enhance it based upon broader industry intelligence. Other companies joining this phase of the project include Dstillery, Facebook, MediaMath, Quantcast, Rubicon Project, The Trade Desk, TubeMogul, and Yahoo.

“Industry leaders like Google are stepping up to the plate to provide the information and tools we need to block fraudulent and illegitimate ad traffic at its source,” said TAG CEO Mike Zaneis. “This program is another piece of the interlocking set of solutions TAG is building to fight fraud across the entire ecosystem. The industry is galvanizing its efforts and we will win the war against fraud.”

Data center traffic is one of many types of nonhuman or illegitimate ad traffic, and this new program will complement TAG’s recently-announced Fraud Threat List, through which companies share web domains that are sources of fraudulent traffic.

Data centers, large networks of servers used to run software at scale, are often used to automatically navigate the Internet with software robots or "bots." These bots are primarily used by businesses to provide automated services including: finding you the best hotel price, crawling the web for search, or measuring the performance of your advertising campaigns. When designed for legitimate purposes these bots can be identified, but sometimes they’re programmed to masquerade as human visitors to websites and ads systems. The information-sharing platform being developed in the Anti-Fraud Working Group will include data center IP addresses identified to be running these fraudulent or deceptive software bots.

“Tackling ad fraud will require everyone in the industry to take an active role,” said Neal Mohan, Vice President, Video and Display Advertising Products, Google. “We’re excited by the collaborative spirit we’ve seen during the launch of this initiative and look forward to working with everyone in the ecosystem to remove fraud from advertising.”

“Rubicon Project is pleased to join other industry leaders and bring our longstanding commitment to engineering the highest quality advertising ecosystem to this collaborative effort that will help improve and advance the entire advertising marketplace,” said Gregory R. Raifman, President of Rubicon Project.

"Since 2012, Dstillery has been a pioneer in battling the scourge of fraudulent traffic," said Dstillery CEO Tom Phillips. "We're proud to join TAG and Google in their effort to forge a solution on behalf of the industry."

With the launch of the pilot program, the TAG Anti-Fraud Working Group will soon release a set of principles for public comment. The final program will incorporate those comments, along with the lessons learned from our advertising participants. The final anti-fraud tool should launch industry-wide before the end of the year.

About the Trustworthy Accountability Group

The Trustworthy Accountability Group was created to spur transformational improvement at scale across the digital advertising ecosystem, focusing on four core areas: eliminating fraudulent traffic, combating malware, fighting ad-supported Internet piracy to promote brand integrity, and promoting brand safety through greater transparency. For more information on TAG, please visit tagtoday.net.


Andrew Weinstein


Topics: Press Releases