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Inappropriate ads could cost the in-app ad industry billions of dollars in fines but until recently it was impossible to detect them. Pubguard, with its industry-leading in-app ad verification technology, estimates that 1.1 billion instances of sell-side ad-fraud are being served to the most vulnerable people in our society each year.

The majority of these 1.1 billion ads are subject to COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act – US) and other compliances which are in place to stop inappropriate content from being shown to sensitive demographics and can carry up to a $40K fine for violations. A portion of the ads that Pubguard catches are illegal phishing or malware scams however all of them will at least irritate the user that is subjected to them.

Pubguard has developed proprietary technology that reviews every advert seen by every user across their client’s apps, to help them identify and remove inappropriate content. On average Pubguard sees 1 in every 5 thousand ads is a “Trojan Ad”, these ads are designed to fool the creative review process by initially appearing as brand safe content, as soon as the Trojan Ad knows that it is running on a real device it can change into a malicious ad. The majority of the Trojan Ads show the user pop-ups or redirect them out of the app and then subject the users to porn and phishing scams indiscriminately.

Above is an example of 1 trojan ad which had 8 dynamically served ads within it.

Morally, legally and commercially this type of practice needs to be cut out of the industry. These ads irritate everyone, offend the majority and try to manipulate susceptible members of our society. The problem has come about because the fraudsters are constantly innovating but Pubguard has made a quantum leap in its approach to stop every Trojan Ad.

Opinion, Uncategorized
The ad industry has a major problem with fraudulent advertising slipping through current ad quality filters.

We call this the “Toy Story Effect”….

A publisher or network receives a high-quality ad campaign at a reasonable rate with the caveat that it’s dynamically served. The campaign is running throughout the day and everything is going well until the lights go out in the office and suddenly everything starts moving around. The next morning you’re fielding user complaints and it’s almost impossible to find the source of the problem as everything is back to normal. It couldn’t be one of the premium campaigns right?

The problem is that the fraudsters serving auto-redirects and fake ads know where and when control and auditing measures are deployed by publishers and suppliers so they switch out ad campaigns to bypass these checkpoints.

That’s why we built a tool to solve this problem.

Our technology sits within the largest apps in the world and reviews their live ad content to automatically identify inappropriate and ineffective ads. The only way to catch the “Toy Story Effect” is to be on device and review all the ads that users are actually seeing.

The mobile advertising boom presents a serious element of conflict for publishers and advertisers alike. With double-digit growth, mobile will soon contribute heavily to digital advertising, becoming the largest advertising platform globally. However, when you look behind the curtain of elaborate industry terms and tech, there is a rather baffled ‘wizard of ads’ wondering how everything is still working without being fully connected.
The industry is awash with middlemen trading between each other; advertisers are trying to track everything so they can salvage insights from the mess created. The middleman issue is so prolific that when the IAB interviewed networks and publishers last year, 82% of respondents said they had no idea where their ads were coming from. The focus is on adding value to advertisers while overlooking systemic issues, which devalue the inventory they are competing to buy.
Ad networks spend hundreds of millions to combat fraud, but the focus remains on publishers that exercise flawed, unethical practices, publishing poor quality ads that taint apps and websites – this activity contributes to 15% of all users blocking ad content. Ad fraud can remain undetectable until the point it is served and is sometimes only picked up by users via social media when it’s too late.
Pubguard proactively reviews ads for in-app and desktop publishers – 20% of inventory reviewed in our free trials range from broken ads to illegal content. We work with our clients and their suppliers to identify the source of the ads and shut them down before they become a public issue. By cutting out unwanted ads, we have improved ad engagement rates by 7%, increasing inventory value and demand.
Some publishers have been forced to cut lucrative networks because a small percentage of their traffic has been tainting their sites, and some premium advertisers are unaware that their ads are sandwiched between illegal content, damaging their brand. Fighting against this activity and working with networks to isolate and eradicate ad fraud, Pubguard has created a solution that identifies ad fraud and notifies everyone involved to shut it down immediately, with the least effort, ensuring fraudulent traffic and activity is unprofitable and unsustainable.
Our tech works without integration, has no impact on users and tracks ad fraud back to the initial campaign set-up. Embraced by the largest publishers and networks in the world, you too can register for a FREE trial on our site.