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How to Generate Fake Traffic and Ad Impressions

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  • 1. How to Generate Fake Traffic/Ad Impressions Dr. Augustine Fou http://linkd.in/augustinefou October 2013 -1- Augustine Fou
  • 2. Crawlers and Status Checkers -2- Augustine Fou
  • 3. Montastic.com Main Objective • Calling web pages to ensure they are “up” Other Dangers • Logging in with these accounts provide them with access to those accounts • Users specify sites they want to monitor (ensuring real URLs) • Users provide email addresses for alerts (ensuring they are real) -3- Augustine Fou
  • 4. Large Changes in Traffic Source: Alexa Source: Quantcast Legit human traffic does not change rapidly; but bot traffic (firehose) can be rapidly turned on or off and directed to other sites. -4- Augustine Fou
  • 5. LadyShopSpot.com Nearly 4M uniques and 45M pageviews per month at its peak. Exposed by Mike Shields March 2013 Meet the Most Suspect Publishers on the Web http://www.adweek.com/news/technolo gy/meet-most-suspect-publishers-web148032 -5- Augustine Fou
  • 6. LadyShopSpot.com Site claims traffic is from good SEO “This involves finding a good trending story on the Web. Writing an original title and an interesting paragraph about why people should care to read more. Use good SEO techniques.” Alexa shows virtually no traffic from search, 3% at its peak -6- Augustine Fou
  • 7. Large Ad Inventory but Little Traffic Detected by Toolbars “Modernbaby.com and Interiorcomplex.com Each of these sites peddles enormous traffic on the exchanges. For example, on a recent day Modern Baby was offering 19 million impressions via one exchange (quite the baby boom) and Interior Complex 30 million [ad impressions PER DAY] (the roaring housing market must be back).” Source: Adweek – Suspicious Web Domains Cost Online Ad Business $400m per Year By Mike Shields -7- Augustine Fou
  • 8. InteriorComplex.com Source: Compete Source: Quantcast Source: Alexa -8- Quantcast: 29k /mo uniques Compete: 42k /mo uniques Augustine Fou
  • 9. ModernBaby.com Source: Quantcast Source: Compete [ NO DATA ] Source: Alexa -9- Quantcast: no data Compete: 20k /mo uniques Augustine Fou
  • 10. Duplicate Loading of Tracking Tags - 10 - Augustine Fou
  • 11. Complex Media Network Calling the same tracking tag can cause traffic to be overcounted - 11 - Quantcast acknowledges 104 sites in network; code is detected on 382 sites Augustine Fou
  • 12. Break Media Network Calling the same tracking tag can cause traffic to be overcounted - 12 - Quantcast acknowledges 26 sites in network; code is detected on 278 sites Augustine Fou
  • 13. Collegehumor Network Calling the same tracking tag can cause traffic to be overcounted - 13 - Quantcast acknowledges 8 sites in network; code is detected on 21 sites Augustine Fou
  • 14. Interlinking Site Networks - 14 - Augustine Fou
  • 15. Refresh / Reload Ads and Pages - 15 - Augustine Fou
  • 16. Auto Refresh Ads Same page, but ads are auto-refreshed every 2 mins; 7 more ad impressions - 16 - Augustine Fou
  • 17. Auto Refresh Pages Refresh entire pages automatically; rotate ads on programmed interval - 17 - Augustine Fou
  • 18. Loading Entire Pages in Hidden iFrames - 18 - Augustine Fou
  • 19. Entire Pages in Hidden iFrames Source: Spider.io May 2, 2013 Ads are hidden in up to 72 layers Entire web pages are loaded into ad iframes to boost impressions Multiple redirects and auto page refreshes - 19 - Augustine Fou
  • 20. Full Page Previews - 20 - Augustine Fou
  • 21. Related Articles Bad Guys Happily Rob Display Advertisers By: Augustine Fou, July 23, 2012 Everything Fake (Display Ad Fraud, Search Click Fraud) By: Augustine Fou, April 2013 Blacklisting vs Whitelisting By: Augustine Fou, October 2013 Fake Profiles on Facebook By: Augustine Fou, July 2013 How Display Ad Fraud Works By: Augustine Fou, May 2013 - 21 - Augustine Fou
  • 22. Dr. Augustine Fou – Digital Consigliere “I advise clients on optimizing advertising across all channels. One aspect of this is detecting waste and fraud; and then taking steps to mitigate it.” FORMER CHIEF DIGITAL OFFICER, HCG (OMNICOM) MCKINSEY CONSULTANT CLIENT SIDE / AGENCY SIDE EXPERIENCE PROFESSOR AND COLUMNIST ENTREPRENEUR / SMALL BUSINESS OWNER PHD MATERIALS SCIENCE (MIT '95) AT AGE 23 ClickZ Articles: http://bit.ly/augustine-fou-clickz Slideshares: http://bit.ly/augustine-fou-slideshares LinkedIn: http://linkd.in/augustinefou - 22 - @acfou Augustine Fou