30 Brands Sign on to ANA's Anti-Fraud Effort

Group Is Attempting to Quantify the Problem and Produce Steps to Combat It

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The Association of National Advertisers has enlisted 30 of its members to address the prevalence of digital-ad fraud, an issue that's been gaining attention as brands pump more and more dollars into online advertising.

The group is teaming up with fraud-detection company White Ops for a month-long study that is also meant to produce steps its members can take to combat the problem themselves.

"ANA really thinks it's important that our members, the marketers, play a key role in addressing the fraud issue," said Bill Duggan, group exec VP at the ANA. "It's their money; they need to be more active."

During August, the 30 advertisers will append White Ops tags to their digital creative, Mr. Duggan said. This code will allow White Ops to monitor fraud and produce a report for each at the study's end. The ANA expects to release an aggregate report to the public in mid-October.

"Importantly, this will not only point out the problem, but White Ops has promised that in the final deliverable there will be some actionable insights provided to advertisers to help eradicate fraud going forward," said Mr. Duggan.

Mr. Duggan declined to name the advertisers participating in the program.

Ad fraud is a complicated problem, with incentives to allow it existing in nearly every sector of the digital advertising industry. For advertisers, fraudulent traffic often registers high marks on "performance" metrics such as clicks and video-ad completions.

For those who do want to address the problem, taking action can be difficult. Last month, Ad Age reported on a scheme that tricked a number of fraud-detection companies into believing fraudulent ads were completely legitimate. The operation netted tens of millions of dollars before being caught.

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