Thought Leadership

Protect and Prosper

February 13, 2018
By Brian Buttray

When it comes to brand protection, the ongoing fight to protect sellers, their brand and their users is a battle that dates back to some of the earliest — and albeit, annoying — ads on the web. Remember punch the monkey?

As innovation and technology in our industry continue to develop, so does that of bad actors who intend to use it for nefarious purposes and profitability. Just look at the recent news that uncovered a syndicate of fake ad agencies distributing suspicious and malicious material throughout 2017 to the tune of one billion ad impressions. Even though Rubicon Project did not have any direct relationships with these fraudulent entities, we recognize they’re just one example of bad actors in a sea of many.

For our industry to continue to truly #ProtectAndProsper, the collective WE, need to be asking ourselves:

“Are we committed to the cause?” 

And perhaps more importantly, “What are we doing to prove to our seller base that we are committed?”

Here at Rubicon Project, our commitment has long been held up by our Three Pillars of Protection: technology, people, and process.

Technology is, and should be, the core to any protective systems. We realized this was imperative back in 2010 when we acquired the security scanning company, SiteScout. Our proprietary screening systems are operating on a 24/7, 365-day basis, monitoring more than 40 countries using a variety of stealth techniques to mask their intent. When behavioral anomalies are detected and when a particular creative is identified as malicious or problematic in other ways (such as forcing redirects to a mobile app store), our platform will automatically block that creative without any human intervention. This technology is constantly evolving to stay one step ahead of the evasive techniques bad actors try to deploy. Beyond our own proprietary scanning software, we also complement these capabilities with third-party services.

#ProtectAndProsper: Take a layered approach! No scanning system is perfect nor were they created equal. What one system catches another may not, and vice versa. This is why we recommend using third-party vendors for better coverage.  

People supporting, driving, and building our systems are just as important as the technologies we have in place. At Rubicon Project, we have a second-to-none Global Support Team that investigates and resolves issues submitted by sellers, third-party vendors, or anyone in between! Just like our technology, these amazing people offer support 24/7, 365. Our support teams work side-by-side with a dedicated engineering team that ensures brand protection with deep technical expertise for all our sellers. This team is always collecting data on the latest trends in order to update our screening systems, build out new features and develop new products.

#ProtectAndProsper: Diagnosing AQ issues takes a special skill set. Not every case is the same and oftentimes information can be limited. This is why it’s important to train and arm your teams with knowledge and tools to act effectively. Check out the “Brand Protection” section of the Rubicon Project knowledge base or reach out to our Global Support teams for any questions. Pick our brains! That’s what we’re here for.

Process is what drives wider marketplace changes. It’s one thing to flag and block issues as they come, but the real change happens once you create processes around marketplace detections and data. Some of these processes include:

  • Identifying patterns: We track and review every reported issue and if poor systematic patterns are identified, we immediately block additional creatives, advertisers, buyers, or even whole DSPs as necessary. These kinds of ongoing measures help to ensure the integrity of our marketplace.  
  • Feedback loops: Using the information from issues we’ve tracked, our Global Support team can deliver feedback to our dedicated core brand protection engineers. This ensures we are constantly re-configuring our systems and techniques to stay one step ahead of the bad actors and the methods they deploy.
  • Partner vetting: Using data to inform and enhance our onboarding and vetting process for prospective DSP partners. We ask the tough questions! Customer sets, geo-locations, and their own vetting processes are just some of the things we ask for in our Quality Questionnaire that each prospective partner is required to fill out and pass. These are vetted by both our senior brand protection support and engineering team members before being granted access to the system.
  • Marketplace trend reports: Using data from issues we’ve observed globally, we are able to create trend reports that keep our sellers informed of the latest issues we’re seeing in the marketplace. This enables our sellers to make more strategic and proactive blocks.

#ProtectAndProsper: If you do partner with third-party security vendors such as The Media Trust, GeoEdge, RiskIQ, Ad Lightning, or any other, you should inquire about their real-time alerting programs, which not only alerts your team, but also alerts the Rubicon Project Global Support team. This expedites the resolution process by allowing more air coverage from every party.

Technology. People. Process. The bedrock of our commitment not just to our sellers but to the industry as a whole. That’s why we’re asking you to, please,  join the conversation — the fight! — so we can all protect each other and truly prosper in the modern digital age.

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