An Insight Into Click Fraud Terminology

The awareness of click fraud is growing by leaps and bounds. Little wonder given how often we see scary statistics on the percentage of advertising budgets lost to click scams. Today’s reality does urge us to keep abreast of the recent click scam-fighting solutions. The article below is not so much a blog post as it is a comprehensive and straightforward glossary of major click fraud-related terms and brand names you are supposed to know if you’re into the online advertising industry: whether as an agency or as an advertiser promoting their business on the web. Let’s cut to the chase and catch up on basic click-fraud-related terms.
Click Fraud Protection Glossary Diagram

Click fraud protection glossary

Ad stacking – occurs when multiple ads are placed on top of each other with only the top one being visible. The impressions of the rest of the ads are wasted.

Ad verification – The process of ensuring that all the restrictions and settings (geo-targeting, ad placement, and so on) set by the advertiser are applied. Media evaluation companies like DoubleVerify develop their own ad verification algorithms.

Billing discrepancy – The mismatch between the money charged for the campaign and the cost of valid clicks within the campaign. Billing discrepancy results from a certain portion of bot clicks received by the promoted website.

Block list – The list of IPs, from which malicious traffic was reported to come. Blocklist may also be referred to as IPs blacklist. Companies like Adometry create separate block lists for each type of click fraud.

Botnet – A network of infected computers used to spread spam and generate fake clicks.

Botnet traffic – Traffic generated by botnets of hacked computers and servers.

Brand safety – A set of techniques and tools aimed at ensuring the advertiser’s banner is placed on a website with appropriate content (that is not adult, gambling, or hate content). The non-brand-safe environment may damage the brand’s image.

Chameleon – A botnet that made quite a stir a couple of years ago leading to more than 6 billion dollars being wasted on bot clicks monthly. On the plus side, the botnet helped the world to discover an up-and-coming click fraud-fighting company (now acquired by Google) that identified the botnet.

Fraud prevention (pre-campaign) – used to refer to solutions that prevent invalid clicks from being redirected to the advertiser’s website. Major solutions employed today are fraud prevention rather than fraud reporting.

Fraud reporting (post-campaign) – used to refer to solutions and techniques that help report which of the website visits resulted from malicious clicks. Such solutions are used for identifying the source of fraudulent clicks and for research, rather than for advertising. This solution doesn’t solve the problem of brand safety.

Fraudulent click –The concept of fraudulent click is wider than that of a bot click. Fraud clicks are not necessarily automated clicks; these also include clicks made by ineligible visitors (for example, the visitors from a country other than the ones targeted in the campaign).

iFrame stuffing – occurs when the ad is served on a tiny, practically invisible place (1×1 pixel) on a website. Obviously, it can’t be viewed and doesn’t add to the effectiveness of the advertising campaign.

Major players of click fraud protection market

You should know these brand names either to check whether the PPC network you work with applies them or, in case you are a rapidly developing media brand, to partner with them for a better advertising experience. – An established click fraud quality assurance system. They develop ad verification and ad attribution technologies. Their scoring metrics allow filtering traffic based on its fitness for online advertising. – One of the largest ad verification services that groups its solutions into two categories: Impression Quality (for example, viewability, brand safety, fraud protection) and Audience Quality (including behavioral and demographic profiles).

All such Media evaluation platforms usually offer comprehensive quality assurance services. Their solutions range from mere fraud detection to optimal ad viability. The company is growing rapidly and works with major agencies, exchanges, and DSPs around the world. It’s quite easy to make a reasonable advertising decision that applies traffic quality controls.

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