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Saturday, May 4, 2019

How Cryptocurrency Is Making Online Advertising Fraud a Thing of the Past

Have you ever paid for an online ad campaign and not had the results you were looking for?

Did a high number of ad 'clicks' result in a small number of customers?

According to blockchain-based advertising platform, Adbank, you aren't alone.
Adbank's research indicates that a shocking 56 percent of all website traffic is actually ... bots!
These rogue algorithms are responsible for a huge disparity between the number of online ad views
and the number of real, human customers that advertisers are able to attract. However, that may be about
to change thanks to Adbank's AI-powered solution.

What is ad fraud?
Ad fraud covers a wide range of fraudulent practices that affect individuals or companies
who pay to place an advert online. As described above, the most common type of fraud is using bots
to view ads to create a misleading impression of the number of humans who viewed the ads.

The second most common fraud is known as "domain spoofing." This occurs when an advertiser
buys advertising space via an ad exchange, and inadvertently purchases advertising space on fake websites.
This means that advertisers waste their budget on ads that are only ever "viewed" by bots. 

The world's secret "killer-robot" problem
Ad fraud robs advertisers and is killing the publishing industry. Even as ad revenues approach all-time highs,
the amount of website traffic may not all be from legitimate sources. Last year, CNBC reported on a bot
called Hyphbot that was costing businesses, primarily in the U.S., over $1.3 million per day.

Hyphbot was described by Adform as "one of the largest botnets to ever hit digital advertising."
Botnets create waves of artificial traffic and cause advertisers to waste money on ads that are
never viewed by humans while also causing publishers to miss out on ad revenue. 

Even established sites such as the Financial Times are being affected by criminals who fool
ad exchanges into believing that they are selling ad space on established sites.
The Financial Times found that counterfeit ad space purporting to be from the Financial Times
was being offered by at least six ad exchanges. 

How does domain spoofing work?
Criminals create websites that look identical to real sites and have nearly identical URLs in order
to fool advertisers into believing that they are advertising on established sites. For example, a
spoof site claiming to be the popular cryptocurrency website, "Blockchain.info," could have a
similar domain name such as "block-clain.info" or "blockchien.info", hoping that
unsuspecting visitors don't notice. Other techniques include registering the same
domain name with two small, barely-noticeable, periods under a particular letter,
while some scammers even manage to acquire a secure sockets layer certificate
(SSL) meaning that their URL's Hypertext Transfer Protocol (https://
is reassuringly green.

Once a fake site is created, advertising space is sold to unsuspecting advertisers via an ad exchange.
Advertisers pay to place an advert on the site believing that their ads will be seen by genuine users.
In fact, botnets create artificial traffic meaning that the advertiser is billed for the number of "views,"
but doesn't see a corresponding increase in customers. The legitimate publishers are also missing out on
ad revenue that they could have otherwise received. 

How does Adbank plan to solve this? 
Adbank's patent-pending AI-based anti-fraud technology aims to create an entirely transparent ecosystem.
The main purpose of the Adbank is to enable traceable payments between advertisers and publishers.
Advertisers who start an ad campaign on Adbank's platform can trust that their ads will be seen by real humans,
not bots. As all interactions are recorded on an immutable blockchain, the system is open and free from corruption.

How does Adbank's technology work? 
Adbank is aiming to become a powerful blockchain-based online advertising platform.
Its goal is to remove middlemen and to use AI technology to dramatically reduce the estimated $50 billion-problem
of advertising fraud. The AdBank (ADB) cryptocurrency will act a means of payment on the Adbank network a
nd should help to ensure that advertisers and publishers experience fairer transactions in the future.

Conclusion

As Adbank's AI-powered solution is patent-pending, it's too early to speculate as to what impact this technology
will have on ad-fraud. Adbank's business model is intriguingly similar to that of Adform in that they are creating
their own ecosystem in which advertisers and publishers can trust that their ad spending will not be affected by
botnets.