How Honeygain Makes the Web a Safer Place: Ad Fraud Detection

Nov 27, 2020 last_updated min_read

Did you know that hackers and fraudsters use various schemes to fake ad traffic? As a result, a vast number of ads are never actually seen by real people! 😱

Let's say you wish to place your ad through a marketing agency. The goal is to reach people from all over the world and show your ad to specific demographic groups. If you are new to it, you might not know that the cost of placing the same ad might vary according to location – and that's exactly why you could unknowingly face ad fraud (also known as invalid traffic or simply fake ads).

Ad fraud – is it real?

100%. According the Interactive Ad Bureau, ad fraud cause over $8,000,000,000 in damage every year! Aside from becoming a fabulous profit for a very small group of people known as fraudsters, this money (we repeat – $8,000,000,000!!) becomes a reason for price increases – and those affect everyone.

Frauded companies need to make up for the losses, and the quickest way to do it is to boost the prices of their products or services. It's a serious issue for online businesses – and even if you haven't heard about it before, you're more than likely to have paid for something more than it was worth!

What does ad fraud even mean?

By definition, ad fraud can affect all kinds of online advertising forms: banner, video, in-app ads, or even search and affiliate marketing. Fake advertisement is described as the actions of representing online ad impressions, clicks, conversions, and many more events related to revenue generation fraudulently.

When did ad frauds start?

The first research paper about ad fraud was called 'On the security of pay-per-click and other web advertising schemes' and emerged all the way back in 1999. Unfortunately, it only scaled up as years went by: in 2004, Google's CFO George Reyes called ad fraud 'a massive threat to the Internet economy'.

So where are we now with ad fraud?

Economies are facing a massive impact of fake advertisements. Integral Ad Science has published its H1 2020 report, offering digital media insights for 15 major digital markets. According to it, the level of ad fraud fluctuated by just a couple of percentage points across all the devices and environments, and mobile web videos remained the safest inventory with an optimized ad fraud rate of 0.3%. In comparison, desktop displays registered the highest fraud rate worldwide at 0.8%!

How can we beat ad fraud?

Fraud websites keep becoming more common, and advertisers find their money wasted on ads that appear on bogus sites or are shown in incorrect formats. Nevertheless, there’s a way around this!

Did you know that many companies use web intelligence networks to detect fraud, improve ad performance, and check the advertisers’ landing pages anonymously? By utilizing web intelligence infrastructures for ad verification, businesses can check whether their ads are being displayed to the intended audience, running correctly and on the right websites!


Ad verification requires many computing resources: you need to comb through terabytes worth of Internet data to check the ads on various websites from different locations. That's why ad verification companies use Honeygain – the worlds' largest crowdsourced web intelligence network! Honeygain app allows its users to 'lease out' their excess bandwidth to third-party computing applications – such as ad verification businesses.

🆘 If you would like to use Honeygain to avoid ad fraud, contact us here!

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How can you report false advertising?

ad fraud detection by honeygain

Ad fraud is one area that cuts deep into advertising dollars – however, there are also factors (like ad placement and context) that affect conversion rates, which is very important in online advertising. If you notice false advertising of any kind, you can contribute to increasing the safety of the Internet by reporting it:

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