DoubleVerify Identifies BotNet Scheme Targeting Ads.txt

Contributor, April 3, 2019

Recent advancements by scammers in circumventing Ads.txt has left the programmatic industry looking for ways to combat ad fraud from occurring against unsuspecting marketers.

DoubleVerify Inc., a software developer of marketing measurement software and analytics, recently announced that it has identified a new bot network that successfully avoids ads.txt protections.

Ads.txt, the current industry initiative which enables publishers to present a text file on their website for listing every company authorized to sell its inventory. Ad buyers use Ads.txt to verify the seller of a publisher’s inventory is authorized to do so.

The botnet network discovered by DoubleVerify functions by sending a bot to a website and then scrapes the content. The bot then creates falsified replications of the webpages on its server, in addition to including new ad slots that did not previously exist.

Had the scam gone undiscovered, DoubleVerify estimates the botnet network could have fleeced advertisers out of an estimated $70 million and $80 million in ad spending.

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Wall Street Journal