It's common and even expected within the online advertising marketplace to employ an IP blacklist to traffic—a list of IPs that are considered high risk for generating fake impressions and clicks. Companies are given the lists and told to steer clear to prevent ad fraud. But what is the reasoning behind the list? And shouldn't a user have a bit of insight about why an IP made the list, especially if it means blocking potentially valuable impressions?
For many on the supply side, the onboarding of new publisher partners includes an initial vetting of their traffic, looking for impression fraud and invalid traffic. This quality check is important in the prevention of ad fraud making its way into a platform or exchange. But once publishers are given the green light to sell inventory, are they ever inspected again? They should be.
Within the programmatic ad industry, supply side revenue (that of networks, SSPs and exchanges) is directly connected to the amount of traffic that passes through their space, as they get a percentage of the CPM on every transaction. This correlation between traffic volume and revenue is hard to ignore and it has also helped to drive an unfounded fear among some sell siders that any reduction of volume will negatively affect the bottom line. Not true.
As far back as 1998 when I first started my career in the online advertising space, fraud was one of the industry’s biggest threats (even if many advertisers didn’t necessarily realize it). Some thought that their abysmal performance metrics were due to poor creatives, lack of detailed tracking systems or they chalked it up to a simple “that’s how internet advertising works”. With time we began to understand that ad fraud was a contributing factor to poor performance metrics. At first we didn’t have the proper understanding of it, much less the proper tools to identify it, and so the fraudsters were for the most part one step ahead in the arms race.