What You Can Do to Meet Marketers’ Demands to Fix Digital Ad Fraud

March 14, 2018

New program addresses fraud by differentiating good publishers who serve ads only to humans.

Tom Drouillard, CEO, President and Managing Director


This is our last post in the three truths series where we’ve outlined the contributing factors to digital ad fraud. You can review our previous posts on fake websites, illegitimate traffic sourcing and ad fraud measurement:

  1. Fraud occurs on both fake and legitimate websites.
  2. Illegitimate traffic sourcing is the main cause of fraud.
  3. Ad fraud measurement is used to transact but does not minimize ad fraud.

Now that we’ve explored how ad fraud happens, let’s discuss what we can do to fix it.

The main advertising associations in North America—the Association of National Advertisers and Association of Canadian Advertisers—asked AAM to develop a digital publisher audit program that would minimize digital ad fraud. Independent, third-party publisher auditing has minimized fraud in other forms of media and has the potential to transform the digital ad market.

AAM’s Quality Certification program was developed to minimize digital ad fraud. The program addresses fraud by differentiating good publishers by ensuring that they are doing everything they can to serve marketers’ ads only to humans.

This approach addresses the issues of both fake- and legitimate-site fraud. It allows marketers to stop advertising on fraudulent sites and invest with good publishers that are certified.

Publishers may earn certification after a 60-90-day onboarding audit. The publisher’s processes, practices and procedures are documented, tested and verified. When the publisher earns certification, the marketer has upfront, before-the-buy assurance that the publisher is delivering ads to people, not bots.

The audit process is continuous, which means the certified publisher site is monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year to ensure consistent practices are followed. As part of the continued certification, the publisher must promptly remediate any issues.

What Makes AAM's Quality Certification Different?

AAM Quality Certified publishers are prioritized throughout the media buying ecosystem through an expanded distribution network of ad exchanges, media buyers and whitelist service providers. The list of AAM Quality Certified sites will be integrated into buying systems so that marketers can specify these sites. Marketers will also use the certification to develop and prioritize the sites in their white lists. White list service providers will do the same.


You Can Contribute to Fixing the Broken System

AAM Quality Certification is a new paradigm in the market, requiring education on both the buy and sell sides. It addresses fraud with a time-tested model: separate the good publishers from the rest with independent audits to ensure that publishers follow best practices.

Marketers think it is time for the industry to stand up and do the right thing with independent publisher audits. Every industry professional—buyer or seller—has a responsibility to contribute to the fight against ad fraud.

  • Marketers: Work with your agencies to prioritize AAM Quality Certified publishers in your white lists and buys. Encourage publishers to get certified and communicate that through RFPs. Buy direct or through exchanges where all publishers are Quality Certified with as much of your investment as possible as the market moves quickly toward independent auditing.
  • Publishers: Begin the AAM Quality Certification process to get certified. It is time to stand out and be rewarded for your quality audience.

Independent third-party audits will go a long way toward minimizing fraud. Marketers are beginning to vote with their dollars. Publishers who prove their quality with AAM Quality Certification will be rewarded. 

Download the Full White Paper

Want to learn more about the causes of digital ad fraud and what you can do to help the industry solve this crippling problem? Download our new whitepaper:

Download 3 Truths That Help Confront the Digital Ad Fraud Crisis

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