IAB Locks in Traffic Fraud Guidelines

Task force pushes best practices for buyers

The Interactive Advertising Bureau has locked in its final guidelines for publishers and advertisers looking to protect themselves against online ad fraud.

Last year, in response to a slew of reports about fake publishers, bot-driven traffic and bad guys stealing advertisers' budgets, the IAB established the Traffic of Good Intent Task Force. And this past December, the group released a set of guidelines for combating fraud, and made them open to public comment.

As of Jan. 10 that public comment period is over, and the guidelines remain essentially intact. “Our new best practices lay the groundwork for how we can fight back against online traffic fraud with specific procedures designed to curtail this criminal activity and limit its impact,” said Steve Sullivan, the IAB's vp of advertising technology.

The task force seems to place a lot of the burden on agencies. Among the recommendations of the group's official document, “Best Practices—Traffic Fraud: Reducing Risk to Exposure” are:

-Buyers shouldn't leave campaign objectives "broad and open to interpretation" since that attracts fraudsters.

-Buyers shouldn't cheap out. "Be willing to pay the real price for the media you want," reads the report. "For example, pre-roll video targeted to a specific real human audience with good attention will cost more than linear video ads placed at random simply to increase views."

-Buyers should play hardball by not paying anybody suspected of fraud.