Humanness Pyramid for Ad Fraud Detection and Mitigation by Augustine Fou


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The humanness pyramid is a methodology to detect whether an ad impression was served to a bot (score of 0) or to a human (score of 100). This helps advertisers better optimize their ads for business impact and ROI because any ad served to a bot will never convert into a paying customer.

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Humanness Pyramid for Ad Fraud Detection and Mitigation by Augustine Fou

  1. 1. Augustine Fou- 1 - Humanness Pyramid Dr. Augustine Fou <acfou @> November 2013
  2. 2. Augustine Fou- 2 - Humanness Pyramid server-side calls to URL; no browser (user agent) browser with user agent and other detectable parameters has javascript and JS actions like calculations and functions on the page typical human actions like mouse movement, clicks, scroll (advanced bots can fake this) bots that can solve captchas, simulate human actions on page, keep cookies Most likely to be human joint actions like click in text box before typing, move mouse to ad and then click 0 10 20 40 80 100 score
  3. 3. Augustine Fou- 3 - Level 0 – server scripts Scripts on the server side that load specific URLs to see if they are “up” These don’t usually pass User Agent information.
  4. 4. Augustine Fou- 4 - Level 1 – browsers Actual browsers which show User Agent info: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/35.0.1916.114 Safari/537.36
  5. 5. Augustine Fou- 5 - Level 2 – can execute JS Has and can execute javascript – in this case, we made the JS do a calculation; with JS the bots can cause ads to load
  6. 6. Augustine Fou- 6 - Level 3 – mouse movement Mouse movement and page scrolling used to be a reliable indicator that the user was a human. But even these actions can now be faked. Demo here: See AdAge: “How Bots Scam Advertisers By Pretending to be Human”
  7. 7. Augustine Fou- 7 - Level 4 – joint actions Human users usually have to move the mouse to a text box and place the cursor before typing
  8. 8. Augustine Fou- 8 - Level 5 – solve CAPTCHAs Human users click and drag items or type in a phrase to solve CAPTCHAs to prove they are human. Drag and drop action Type-in Ad
  9. 9. Augustine Fou- 9 - 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 How to Generate Fake Traffic and Impressions By: Augustine Fou, October 2013 How Display Ad Fraud Works By: Augustine Fou, May 2013 Augustine Fou- 9 -
  10. 10. Augustine Fou- 10 - Dr. Augustine Fou – Digital Consigliere “I advise clients on optimizing advertising across all channels. Using insights and fast- feedback loops from digital, we can not only target brand ads better, but we can shift towards more detailed measurement and ROI; this includes detecting and mitigating fraud and waste.” 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 @acfou ClickZ Articles: Slideshares: LinkedIn: