Corporate Eye

IAB Releases 3 Principles to Stop Online Ad Fraud

mouse click online advertising click fraudOnline ad fraud has been a big problem for brand advertisers for years, and now, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) has taken new steps to curb it.

Back in December of 2013, the IAB Traffic of Good Intent Task Force released a set of best practices to reduce exposure to online ad traffic fraud, and now, the IAB is expanding those efforts. This week, the IAB announced that the IAB Traffic of Good Intent Task Force has become the Anti-Fraud Working Group and will focus on eliminating fraud across the advertising industry.

As it’s first step, the Anti-Fraud Working Group released three principles that should be used to identify and eliminate fraudulent traffic (and the inventory it creates). In a press release, the IAB described these Anti-Fraud Principles as, “a series of three tenets meant to root poor-quality ad traffic out of the system once and for all.” The IAB explains that the Anti-Fraud Principles are just one step in the IAB Trustworthy Supply Chain Initiatives that will address challenges facing digital marketing today.

The three Anti-Fraud Principles focus on detection, identification, and transparency:

Principle 1: Fraud Detection

The IAB states that suppliers should be required to implement technological and business practices that identify ad bots and illegitimate human activity. Furthermore, suppliers must prevent that traffic from being sold to advertisers.

Principle 2: Source Identification

The IAB states that suppliers should provide assurances to buyers that the inventory they pay for is from legitimate sources. To do this, the IAB recommends providing the specific URL of each ad placement to the advertiser.

Principle 3: Process Transparency

The IAB states that suppliers should provide details of the business and technical processes they use to adhere to the first two principles.

The IAB has also created a taxonomy that provides definitions of key terms used in online advertising transactions, so advertisers and suppliers are using the same terms and understand the same things about anti-fraud. The IAB believes that by working together, advertisers and suppliers can eliminate online ad fraud throughout the digital supply chain.

Let’s face it, marketers need online ad fraud to go away or they’re wasting valuable budget dollars. The Anti-Fraud Principles are a step in the right direction, but as the Anti-Fraud Working Group knows, there is more work to be done. Let’s keep the conversation going so eliminating ad fraud remains a top priority.

Image: Karen Andrews

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.