Product Perspectives: Addressing Quality

One of the main goals we're working on in the product organization is communicating more about product investments externally. We are starting this week with Inventory Quality.

We have long taken an industry-leading stance on quality and piracy, and nothing has changed today. In case there was ever any question, AppNexus has a ZERO TOLERANCE policy against any type of invalid activity on our platform.


Our primary objective at AppNexus for quality is to: Make the Internet better while advancing our customer’s long-term best interest by maintaining a quality ecosystem free of malware, invalid activity, piracy, and content that leads to undesirable outcomes.


There is a lot of confusion in the marketplace about what’s commonly referred to as “fraud”. “Fraud” as a term is not specific enough and implies a malicious intent, so what we’re focused on is eliminating types of  “invalid activity”. These invalid activities are broken out into the following categories:

Non-human traffic

  • Impressions that are generated from machine-initiated activity (botnets).

Hidden ad impressions

  • Ad impressions that are masked and cannot be seen by the consumer

Misrepresented sources

  • Ad impressions where the originating source is obfuscated, altered or mis-represented to mislead the buyer

Click Fraud

  • Clicks that are artificially generated or inflated with the intent of misleading the buyer

Inappropriate site content

  • Sites that violate AppNexus policy including Porn, piracy, hate speech, etc

Malicious ad injection

  • Most commonly found in toolbars, but any situation where ads are being injected into a publisher’s page without consent

Site behavior/page quality

  • Very poor site quality including too many ads on page, quick auto-rotation etc


As you can see, there are a number of things that can lead to strange reporting numbers, and this list doesn’t even include legitimate activities that can look like “fraud” such as search spiders, misconfigured tags, and other technical hiccups.

Looking at this list also demonstrates that there is no magic silver bullet that can solve all invalid activity with one technical solution.  It’s a series of complicated issues that will require a long-term fight involving technical, policy, financial, and legal solutions. This may all be complicated, but it’s incredibly important – and we’re committed to doing whatever it takes to be an industry leader.

In our next post, we’ll discuss the immediate actions our teams have taken across the company to fight against invalid activity.

  • Industry Perspectives