It is estimated that the advertising industry will suffer from $7 billion in ad fraud in 2017. This week’s news of “Methbot”— reported to be one of the most serious and widespread ad fraud operations in history—further dramatized the problem. It served as a beacon for brand advertisers and companies in the marketing and advertising industry to continue focusing their attention on this serious matter.

At ViralGains, we take the issue of genuine engagement between brands and consumers very seriously – building authentic connections is the heart of our brand promise.  Part of building those connections is a zero-tolerance approach to fraud.  

After the Methbot scam was discovered, our data science and engineering team conducted a full video view audit of all of our campaigns run for the month of December, reviewing the millions of views and the IP addresses related to those views.  We reviewed that list against the 500,000+ White Ops identified fraudulent Methbot IP addresses, and confirmed that zero of our video views – zero – came from the IP addresses flagged by WhiteOps as part of the Methbot fraud.

These results are a testament to our team’s zero tolerance approach, and to the technologies and processes we use to drive genuine and effective results for our customers.

More About ‘Methbot’

Security group White Ops reported that a well organized, sophisticated fraud operation out of Russia leveraging data centers in the U.S. & Netherlands have been attacking the online ad industry, making $3-$5 million a day in ad revenue.  The group laid the foundation for the scam by purchasing more than 6,000 domains, creating more than 250,000 unique URLS within those domains, and establishing 571,904 dedicated IP Addresses.

They then deployed more than 540,000 bots to view up to 300 million video ads per day delivered to fake/spoofed websites that act like CNN, Sports Illustrated and thousands more—costing publishers millions in revenue.  Those same bots imitated human-like behavior by falsifying clicks, mouse movements, controlling the video player, scroll, share, and more. It has been said that “bots behave better than humans” because you can train them on what to do.  

The combination of “bots imitating human-like behavior” and a massive quantities of views tricked programmatic algorithms to bid and buy more of the spoofed website video advertising “inventory” owned and operated by this group.

It’s no surprise that the complexity and scale of Methbot has raised major questions from brands about how to protect themselves from such threats.   ViralGains stands at the forefront of the industry in protecting customers from bad actors like Methbot.

ViralGains Staying Ahead

ViralGains has developed a market-leading video ad-journey platform that empowers the voice of brands and people to create authentic and lasting connections. We optimize media activation for brands to deliver top-quality, genuine engagement, and business results. We deliver a premium experience for both brands and consumers.

ViralGains has zero tolerance for advertising fraud. We take a proactive approach to preventing it on behalf of the brands we serve, by leveraging our own digital advertising expertise, technology, authentication partnerships, and high quality inventory.

We have vigilantly stayed in front of these issues to consistently deliver premium video engagement to our brand clients, while delivering targeted and highly-relevant advertising to consumers.

Brand Safety, Viewability & Fraud Prevention: Openness & Flexibility

It all starts with two platform principles – openness and flexibility.  ViralGains keeps our platform open so our brand and agency clients benefit from our commitment to supporting leading third party verification technologies. This openness provides them with the flexibility to deploy a wide variety of the industry’s deepest anti-fraud technologies while maintaining highly viewable ads in a brand safe environment.”

Our platform accepts pixels from leading anti-fraud vendors IAS, DoubleVerify, and White Ops to combat fraudulent views, invalid traffic, and viewability issues. Ultimately, it’s our openness and flexibility that gives clients the choice in how to protect their advertising campaigns from fraudulent activities facilitated by schemes like Methbot and others that might be tried in the future.

Quality Inventory Partners

We only accept and work with carefully vetted high-quality ad inventory providers.  Whether we are working directly with Publishers, Programmatic Ad Exchanges, or Private Marketplaces, our dedicated performance management team carefully reviews and constantly monitors traffic using a combination of our own proprietary monitoring technologies and 3rd party media authentication technologies to ensure high-quality traffic.

We look forward to driving continued success for our brand and agency clients that placed their trust in us in 2016 and we wish everyone a happy, healthy and successful New Year.

If you have any questions about the ViralGains Video Ad Journey Platform or how to prevent ad fraud, please don’t hesitate to reach out. My email is Gkiladis@viralgains.com.

Special thanks to Doron Gan and the ViralGain tech team for their data analysis.