Senators Focus Spotlight on Bot Fraud Challenge

July 12, 2016

Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Mark Warner (D-VA) have written to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) asking questions about a serious challenge for our industry: bot fraud in digital advertising. The Senators are correct that bot fraud is a major area of criminal activity both in the U.S. and globally.    

ANA has played a leadership role in spotlighting and working to address this challenge.  In 2014, we partnered with White Ops, a leading provider of cyber-security services, to release the 2014 Bot Baseline Report. That study helped provide industry with a better understanding of the impact of fraud on the online advertising ecosystem and provided a series of action steps to help stakeholders reduce fraud.

We recently worked with White Ops on an expanded update of their 2014 study and the results were released on January 19, 2016. White Ops found that fraud levels continued to be high, estimating that advertisers would lose $7.2 billion globally this year as a result of bot fraud. That study was cited in the letter from Senators Schumer and Warner to the FTC.  

In November of 2014, we joined with our industry partners, the IAB and the 4As, to launch the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG), a joint marketing-media industry program to help address this challenge. TAG has created a “Certified Against Fraud” program to enable companies to ensure that payments made in the digital ad ecosystem are going to legitimate companies.          

The level of criminal, non-human bot traffic literally robbing marketers’ brand-building investments in the digital marketplace is unacceptable and the ad community will fight hard to counter this threat.

We look forward to the opportunity to work with Senators Schumer and Warner, the FTC, the FBI, Homeland Security, Interpol and others to address this serious problem in the online ecosystem.

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