How to Generate Fake
Traffic/Ad Impressions
Dr. Augustine Fou
http://linkd.in/augustinefou
October 2013
-1-

Augustine Fou
Crawlers and Status
Checkers
-2-

Augustine Fou
Montastic.com
Main Objective
• Calling web pages to
ensure they are “up”

Other Dangers
• Logging in with these
accounts p...
Large Changes in Traffic
Source: Alexa
Source: Quantcast

Legit human traffic does not change rapidly; but bot traffic
(fi...
LadyShopSpot.com
Nearly 4M
uniques and 45M
pageviews per
month at its peak.
Exposed by Mike Shields
March 2013
Meet the Mo...
LadyShopSpot.com
Site claims traffic is from good SEO
“This involves finding a good trending story on the Web. Writing an ...
Large Ad Inventory but
Little Traffic Detected by Toolbars
“Modernbaby.com and Interiorcomplex.com
Each of these sites ped...
InteriorComplex.com
Source: Compete
Source: Quantcast

Source: Alexa

-8-

Quantcast: 29k /mo uniques
Compete: 42k /mo uni...
ModernBaby.com
Source: Quantcast

Source: Compete

[ NO DATA ]

Source: Alexa

-9-

Quantcast: no data
Compete: 20k /mo un...
Duplicate Loading of
Tracking Tags
- 10 -

Augustine Fou
Complex Media Network

Calling the same tracking tag can
cause traffic to be overcounted
- 11 -

Quantcast acknowledges 10...
Break Media Network

Calling the same tracking tag can
cause traffic to be overcounted
- 12 -

Quantcast acknowledges 26 s...
Collegehumor Network

Calling the same tracking tag can
cause traffic to be overcounted
- 13 -

Quantcast acknowledges 8 s...
Interlinking Site Networks

- 14 -

Augustine Fou
Refresh / Reload Ads
and Pages
- 15 -

Augustine Fou
Auto Refresh Ads

Same page, but ads are auto-refreshed every 2 mins; 7 more ad impressions
- 16 -

Augustine Fou
Auto Refresh Pages

Refresh entire pages automatically; rotate ads on programmed interval
- 17 -

Augustine Fou
Loading Entire Pages
in Hidden iFrames
- 18 -

Augustine Fou
Entire Pages in Hidden iFrames
Source: Spider.io May 2, 2013

Ads are hidden in up to 72
layers

Entire web pages are load...
Full Page Previews

- 20 -

Augustine Fou
Related Articles
Bad Guys Happily Rob Display Advertisers
By: Augustine Fou, July 23, 2012
Everything Fake (Display Ad Fra...
Dr. Augustine Fou – Digital Consigliere
“I advise clients on optimizing
advertising across all channels. One
aspect of thi...
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How to Generate Fake Traffic and Ad Impressions

  1. 1. How to Generate Fake Traffic/Ad Impressions Dr. Augustine Fou http://linkd.in/augustinefou October 2013 -1- Augustine Fou
  2. 2. Crawlers and Status Checkers -2- Augustine Fou
  3. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 8. InteriorComplex.com Source: Compete Source: Quantcast Source: Alexa -8- Quantcast: 29k /mo uniques Compete: 42k /mo uniques Augustine Fou
  9. 9. ModernBaby.com Source: Quantcast Source: Compete [ NO DATA ] Source: Alexa -9- Quantcast: no data Compete: 20k /mo uniques Augustine Fou
  10. 10. Duplicate Loading of Tracking Tags - 10 - Augustine Fou
  11. 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. 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. 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. 14. Interlinking Site Networks - 14 - Augustine Fou
  15. 15. Refresh / Reload Ads and Pages - 15 - Augustine Fou
  16. 16. Auto Refresh Ads Same page, but ads are auto-refreshed every 2 mins; 7 more ad impressions - 16 - Augustine Fou
  17. 17. Auto Refresh Pages Refresh entire pages automatically; rotate ads on programmed interval - 17 - Augustine Fou
  18. 18. Loading Entire Pages in Hidden iFrames - 18 - Augustine Fou
  19. 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. 20. Full Page Previews - 20 - Augustine Fou
  21. 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. 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

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