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Fraud - How to deal with Bot Traffic?


Top Affiliate Network
Affiliate Manager
We all know fraud is one of those monumental issues that threaten our business. Bot traffic, which has been predominant on both CPM and CPC campaigns, can be a real drag.

Adnetworks should be able to deal with this; to filter this sort of shady traffic that ruins our lives.

However, they also need to be careful: if they’re too demanding and start filtering bot traffic like crazy, they risk losing their margin and reduce the publisher’s payout; if they are too lenient, they are basically showing they don’t care about those of us who are out there trying to play by the rules.

What do you guys think of this? Any opinions on how to deal with this problem?

That is a tricky question. About the only ad displays that will be unaffected are the ones that are paid for by time, or that only pay on confirmed sales.

For CPC/CPM most of the main bots are known, so it should not be hard to filter them out at the logging level. Most good analytics software could identify it, so a second check of the logs through those might work. Capturing IPs is essential. The problem is the unknown bots, or users who have bought and renamed a script, which is a lot harder to track.

There's behavioural detection, but if networks overreact they risk ending up with the Google problem of being too sensitive and banning people for a rush of clicks. If they under-react, they overcharge and get a bad rep for not delivering to advertisers. In practice, could the advertiser simply null any traffic that was expected to be a bot, and let the publisher know what the problem is? If it's not their bot causing trouble they can block the bot from their site, and if it is then they should stop using it. Then block the ones who are persistant offenders. It would have to have a manual component to it though, because the auto-block on some networks is getting a bad name.
Invest into some good fraud software. It will give you traffic scores on your members traffic. Its easy to stop with the right software.