DoubleVerify Acquires Leiki; GroupM UK Verified by ABC to JICWEBS Anti Ad-Fraud & Brand …

In this weekly segment, ExchangeWire sums up key industry updates on ad tech from around the European region – and in this edition: DoubleVerify …

In this weekly segment, ExchangeWire sums up key industry updates on ad tech from around the European region – and in this edition: DoubleVerify Acquires Leiki; GroupM UK Verified by ABC to JICWEBS Anti Ad-Fraud & Brand-Safety Principles; Tappx Partners with Pixalate to Guard Against Connected TV/OTT Ad Fraud; Vivaldi Acquires Gravity Thinking; and GeoEdge First to Bring Real-Time Ad Security & Quality to Mobile In-App Environments

DoubleVerify Acquires Leiki

DoubleVerify, the leading independent provider of marketing measurement software and analytics, announced on Sunday (14 January) that it has acquired Leiki, Ltd., a leading contextual intelligence and content classification platform headquartered in Helsinki, Finland, and with operations across Europe. The transaction was completed as an all-cash, all-stock offer on 27 December, 2018.

The Leiki acquisition further strengthens DV’s core global brand reputation capabilities, ensuring that brands advertising on the internet are matched with appropriate and relevant content. Leiki’s semantic AI software engine provides high-definition analysis of any piece of text (e.g. complex news articles) or contextual video data. DoubleVerify uses content analysis data to protect brand reputation throughout the media transaction (pre- and post-bid) and to enable proactive contextual targeting of content aligned with a brand’s equity or target audience profile.

The acquisition also brings a tenured team with specialised ontological expertise and deep relationships with brands and premium publishers internationally. Moreover, Leiki experts classify content in-language worldwide – helping DV address the brand reputation needs of its global customer base.

Commenting on the acquisition, Wayne Gattinella, DoubleVerify CEO, said: “Leiki’s data-driven technology platform and advanced content classification expertise dovetail perfectly with DV’s global brand reputation offering – a core competency since our company’s inception over a decade ago. We are delighted to welcome the Leiki team – a uniquely talented group, who are experts in language ontology and content analysis.”

Leiki CEO and founder, Dr Petrus Pennanen, added: “The entire Leiki team is thrilled to join forces with DoubleVerify – a rapidly expanding, global organisation with a best-in-class brand reputation solution. We are going to market with even stronger capabilities through close integration of Leiki’s semantic technology and expertise with DV’s industry-wide platform.”

GroupM UK Verified by ABC to JICWEBS Anti Ad-Fraud & Brand-Safety Principles

GroupM UK, the world’s leading media investment group, has achieved two JICWEBS Seals of Compliance, as verified by independent auditor ABC, demonstrating that the company has met industry-agreed standards to actively reduce the risk of both advertising misplacement (linked to the issue of brand safety) and exposure to advertising fraud.

The JICWEBS Principles are industry-approved guidelines against which media buyers, publishers, or intermediaries can be verified. The aim of the Principles, and ABC’s verification programme, is to promote confidence in the industry by demonstrating that companies like GroupM UK are providing targeted protection against some of the key issues affecting the online advertising industry.

JICs (Joint Industry Currencies) ABC and JICWEBS are supplying the online media industry with a trusted and robust currency on which media space can be bought and sold.

Stevan Randjelovic, brand safety manager, GroupM EMEA, comments: “At a time when brand safety and ad fraud remain core digital advertising challenges, we believe the industry should be committing to best industry practices and independent certification, which is the core mission of JICWEBS. We are pleased to receive our DTSG seal once again and obtain the anti-ad fraud accreditation for the first time – both applicable across all GroupM divisions. This not only demonstrates our commitment to media quality and integrity, but that we truly walk the talk.”

Simon Redlich, chief executive, ABC, adds: “Congratulations to GroupM UK for achieving two JICWEBS Seals following verification by ABC. This recognises its compliance with the JICWEBS Principles for both anti-fraud and brand safety. GroupM UK is leading by example in demonstrating its commitment to a safer, more transparent digital ad trading environment.”

For more information on ABC’s Verification Services click here.

Tappx Partners with Pixalate to Guard Against Connected TV/OTT Ad Fraud

Tappx has partnered with Pixalate in order to offer advanced invalid traffic (IVT) detection technology for its over-the-top (OTT) services. The global Tappx solutions, which will be enhanced by Pixalate technology, includes ‘Ad-Replacement’ services for digital TV; ‘Dynamic Ad Insertions’ (DAI), digital TV ad time-slot detection and insertion of programmatic video ads; and ‘Addressable TV’ ads, which deliver targeted and personalised ads based on TV user interests.

Traditionally speaking, OTT was a ‘secure environment’, typically set within the parameters of ‘digital commercial sales’ and championed by larger broadcasters and publishers. However, OTT has evolved over the years. There are a growing number of viral content platforms appearing each day across an ever-expanding app ecosystem. OTT advertising spend continues to grow at a rapid pace – Magna projects a 40% jump in 2018 – but the fragmented ecosystem has opened the door for fraudulent activity.

Jalal Nasir, Pixalate CEO, comments: “Marketers have expressed concerns over inventory quality and ad fraud in OTT; and our industry-first MRC accreditation directly addresses those challenges. OTT advertising is rapidly expanding; and as the industry’s first solution for ad-fraud detection and prevention in OTT, Pixalate is ready to guard the growing investments.”

José Manuel González Pacheco, advanced TV and audio advertising strategist and partnerships director, Tappx, adds: “The importance of trust and transparency, combined with the ability to control anti-fraudulent activities, directly correlates to a ‘maximum priority’ for advertising and content service providers. Pixalate brings outstanding protection to the Tappx portfolio of in-app programmatic solutions, and now we’re pleased to utilise Pixalate MRC-accredited solutions for OTT. Pixalate has helped Tappx implement strategies that reduced IVT by blocking fraudulent apps and increasing app scale.”

Vivaldi Acquires Gravity Thinking

Global strategy firm Vivaldi announced Wednesday (16 January) the acquisition of London-based award-winning digital creative agency Gravity Thinking – whose clients include Hyundai, Pizza Hut, and William Grant & Sons – as part of its drive to deliver tangible impact and proven growth strategies to clients.

The deal adds Gravity’s innovative social and digital marketing capabilities to Vivaldi’s existing business, brand strategy, and data analytics offering, allowing the combined group to deliver strategies based on demonstrable impact, supported by first-rate customer journey analytics and brand funnel optimisation. The two companies are already working together on clients in the enterprise software, tourism, and retail sectors.

Gravity Thinking’s managing partners Stephen Firth and Andrew Roberts will join Vivaldi’s leadership team and continue to be based in London. All of Gravity Thinking’s staff will be retained and will work closely with Vivaldi’s global team across their nine offices, including New York, Chicago, Toronto, Buenos Aires, London, Zurich, and Munich.

Gravity Thinking was advised by leading growth and M&A advisors Waypoint Partners who supported the managing partners throughout the process, leveraging an acute understanding of the M&A landscape to bring the deal to completion.

The announcement caps a year of expansion, client growth, and new thought leadership for Vivaldi. The combined organisation, driven by an agile methodology to launch new ideas, concepts, and brands in the market, will be integral to delivering the company’s flagship work on platform business models.

Tom Ajello, Vivaldi’s global chief creative officer, comments: “Our industry still operates in silos. Yet people and brands have evolved – we are the only independent global player that has the passion and persistence to successfully merge what others have kept separated for too long.”

Erich Joachimsthaler, Vivaldi founder and CEO, adds: “The deliberate integration of strategy expertise, award-winning creativity, and in-market activation is absolutely necessary in the new model of building brands. I’m looking forward to an exciting year ahead, bringing together these two companies that share similar views and cultures.”

Gravity Thinking managing partner, Andrew Roberts, said: “We’re thrilled to join the Vivaldi family and are inspired by their pioneering thought leadership on brand-building and growth. We are looking forward to working with them to bring growth strategies to life through in-market activation.”

Founded in 2007 by managing partners, Andrew Roberts and Stephen Firth, Gravity Thinking has gained acclaim with many of the world’s forward-looking brands for its unique storytelling and relentless focus on data, resulting in the delivery of innovative marketing and measurable social and digital activation.

Otto Stevens, partner at Waypoint Partners, concludes: “Vivaldi’s acquisition of Gravity Thinking is smart, mutually beneficial, and has client interests at its core. Vivaldi has taken a significant step towards the development of deeper executional capabilities and strengthened its foothold in the European market; while Gravity has unlocked the potential for rapid growth and gained access to a new calibre of client. We’re proud of our role in facilitating this deal.”

Alongside Waypoint Partners, Gravity Thinking was advised on legal issues by Kemp Little, whilst Vivaldi used Humphreys Law for its legal and tax counsel.

GeoEdge First to Bring Real-Time Ad Security & Quality to Mobile In-App Environments

Despite a decrease in mobile threats in 2018, according to security firm Avast, the company reported a 49% increase in ad-based malware last year; and just last week, researchers at security provider Trend Micro discovered 85 different apps pushing adware to unsuspecting Android users.

According to data from GeoEdge’s real-time blocking, the majority of malicious and sexually offensive ads discovered over the last six months were on iOS and not Android.

To address the growing challenges of malicious and sexually offensive in-app ads, GeoEdge, the premier provider of ad security and verification solutions for the digital advertising ecosystem, released on Wednesday (16 January) its solution for in-app real-time blocking of malicious and inappropriate ads. This SDK is the digital marketplace’s first available innovation for blocking bad ads in real time within the in-app environment.

With eMarketer projecting that two-thirds of programmatic ad budgets will go towards mobile next year (of which 90% will be bought programmatically), and with in-app growing much faster than the mobile web, publishers and app developers need to provide their users with the same protection and security on mobile that is provided on desktop. The digital industry has already seen advances like header bidding and ads.txt expand into mobile environments. However, up until now, security and ad quality in mobile have lagged behind the standards that have become customary on desktop.

GeoEdge brings mobile security and quality up to speed. Using the same proprietary, patent-pending technology that powers GeoEdge’s widely adopted solutions for the broader web, it detects security issues, inappropriate and sexually offensive ad creative, and user experience issues at the pre-impression level delivered by any of the major mediator SDKs. The tool blocks the bad ad before it renders and replaces it with an alternate ad already verified as safe and appropriate. This allows publishers to protect their users without losing the revenue they rely on for the future of their business. GeoEdge technology identifies issues ranging from redirects, drive-by downloads, viruses, and malicious files, to adult content, pop-ups, and device vibrations. GeoEdge is unique among ad security and quality vendors in its ability to identify and block inappropriate ad creative in real time, rather than just identifying the security risks.

Poor-quality ads increase a site’s bounce rate and lead to churn among a publisher’s or app developer’s users. By preserving the integrity of the in-app ad experience, publishers can more easily nurture their audiences, and provide them with quality, relevant content. Trusted and safe in-app environments promote loyalty, increase the lifetime value of the user, and drive greater overall revenue for the publisher and app developer.

GeoEdge presents developers with a mobile SDK that they can integrate directly into the app. It provides, via a web-based console, full reports on all activity the technology observes in the app environment. It also provides a BI view of data that can be visualised at the demand-source level.

This SDK solution is the logical next step in GeoEdge’s long-standing mission to preserve user experience and to allow publishers to combat bad ads proactively.

Amnon Siev, CEO, GeoEdge, comments: “By offering a Mediation SDK integrated with real-time blocking, GeoEdge is taming malicious and offensive ads and content on mobile by replacing the offending ads and content with safe ones, ensuring the revenue stream for app developers and a safe experience for users.”

GeoEdge enables the supply side to focus on publishing. The company handles malicious and unsafe advertising so that publishers, app developers, and supply-side clients can focus on optimising their advertiser campaigns and provide better and more effective relations with their clients in the time saved. GeoEdge enabled clients to find a 90-95% reduction in complaints, through the elimination of offensive and malicious ads, and gain full transparency and visibility of their entire ad inventory beyond the blocked malicious ads, enabling better management of each partner’s brand-safety needs.

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Types of Ad Fraud

Ad fraud is a big, costly problem in our industry. To fight it, you have to understand the different forms it can take. The brand safety experts at Peer39 …

Ad fraud is a big, costly problem in our industry. To fight it, you have to understand the different forms it can take. The brand safety experts at Peer39 typically divide ad fraud into three categories: non-human traffic (i.e., bots); ads with zero chance of being seen (i.e., zero-percent viewability); and intentional misrepresentation. The imposters who are responsible for these kinds of fraud are savvy, and they are continually finding new and more sophisticated ways to make money by defrauding advertisers.


Here’s a closer look at some of the most common types of fraud:

Bot basics

General invalid traffic (GIVT)arescripts that run from a server such as Amazon Web Services or some other hosting provider. As their name implies, these bots are usually easy to identify because they have a static IP, user agent, and cookie ID. This makes fingerprinting them pretty easy using DSP auction logs or even web server logs to spot abnormally high clickthrough rate (CTR) or unexpected spikes in traffic that are the signatures of simple bots.

Sophisticated invalid traffic (SIVT)is not as easy to identify. These bots rotate user agents, using random proxies to rotate IP addresses, and they mimic normal “human” CTRs, so they are more challenging to detect. They are also now capable of completing complicated tasks like filling out forms or completing videos. Sophisticated bots can even put items in shopping carts and visit multiple sites to generate histories and cookies—making them look attractive to advertisers and publishers.

The unviewable

Ad stackingisacommon way that fraudulent publishers get credit for running an ad that is actually hidden behind other ads and not viewable. The publisher can thereby generate multiple impressions for a single page view, even when only the top ad in the “stack” is ever seen.

Site scams

Domain spoofingis a scheme employed bydeceitful publishers, ad exchanges, or networks to obscure the nature of their traffic to resemble legitimate websites. For example, an advertiser might sign off on a contract to run a campaign on a legitimate entertainment website with very high monthly traffic, but instead its ads end up on an unknown site. This practice is most prevalent in the programmatic space where publishers are sometimes allowed to declare their own domains and label their own site IDs. Spoofed domains are not just fake website addresses, they are also banner farms that contain bad content.

Ghost sitesare among the most difficultfraud methods for advertisers to spot. Fraudsters create content farms and use bots to mimic human traffic. The sites may then be introduced to a legitimate ad exchange, where ad impressions are made available for advertisers to buy programmatically. Exchanges usually spot these schemes quickly, but even a short lifespan can be profitable to the ghost site creators.

Zero-adsites arethosewhere advertising is forbidden, such as government or educational sites. But fraudsters still find ways to inject ads into them when a user downloads and installs a browser extension or app (such as a free PDF converter or browser toolbar) bundled with software that quietly injects unwanted ads into the user’s browser.

Fraud is lucrative

The scale of online ad fraud has a significant impact on advertising ROI and advertiser confidence because all those falsified impressions and clicks cost money without yielding conversions or revenue. It’s estimated that fraud consumes $1 of every $3 spent on digital advertising. In 2018, and advertisers lost an estimated $51 million every day to fraud, a figure that is expected to more than double by 2022. Time and time again, advertisers unwittingly reinvest in fraudulent inventory because it appears on reports to be driving results. Worst of all, ad fraud is not technically illegal, so there is minimal risk for bad actors.

Protection is possible

Because fraud schemes continually evolve, effective fraud prevention requires staying one step ahead of their game. Peer39 does this by tackling the problem from every angle, both before and after the buy. Peer39 pre-bid antifraud targeting helps marketers exclude fraud from the buy up front, eliminating zero-ad sites and other fake inventory. Peer39 post-buy solutions offer multichannel, AI-driven fraud detection and filtration that enables you to monitor viewability and detect bots and other invalid traffic threats—even difficult-to-detect schemes and domain spoofing.


Fraud isn’t going anywhere, but with vigilance, you can significantly reduce your exposure and protect your investment.

Contact a your account rep or a Peer39 account manager to keep your next campaign fraud-free.

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Brave’s Basic Attention Token Falls 16% After Being Listed on Coinbase

Brave’s BAT has recently seen its price drop over 16% after being listed on the San Francisco-based exchange Coinbase. The drop was likely caused …

Brave’s Basic Attention Token (BAT) has recently been listed on the San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, effectively becoming the eighth cryptocurrency available on the platform.

Although the cryptocurrency had been listed on the Coinbase Pro platform, being listed on Coinbase.com and its Android and iOS apps means its now accessible to millions of users. Despite the announcement, BAT’s price plummeted over 16%.

Brave's BAT fell on the Coinbase listing, but is up in the last 2 weeks

Currently, Coinbase’s users in New York aren’t able to buy or sell the cryptocurrency. Despite the recent price slump, Brave is up nearly 9% in the last two weeks, as various developments helped it surge. Among them, the launch of a Chromium-based version of the Brave browser.

The cryptocurrency likely fell as traders started acquiring the cryptocurrency anticipating a Coinbase listing and some may have now dumped it in a “buy the rumor, sell the news” scenario. Nevertheless, BAT’s RSI shows it’s now back to oversold territory, meaning it could bounce back soon.

The Brave browser, devised by JavaScript creator Brendan Eich, uses the BAT tokens so users can reward publishers and content creators for the attention they give them with it. Its purpose is to allow creators to receive for their work, while the browser has a built-in adblocking feature.

The browser is notably privacy-centric and, as such, also has built-in code that blocks third-party scripts. Its focus has helped it surge in popularity. As of early October it had 4.6 million monthly active users, and 28,700 publishers and creators.

https://twitter.com/ilumium/status/1059482154730733569

The browser has, in fact, been already downloaded over 10 million times on Google’s Play Store. Recently, it started rolling out a built-in BAT-tipping feature that will allow users to tip others on social media.

Moreover, it has a Brave Rewards program that has seen public trials get launched, and that will reportedly let users earn as much as $70 per year in BAT by choosing to see ads. Per the firm, if a user chooses to see ads “delivered directly to the user in a separate ad tab,” they’ll receive 70% of the revenue from them, and 15% of the revenue from ads that appear on websites.

CryptoGlobe is a verified publisher on the Brave browser that accepts BAT. To support us, all you need to do is give the browser a chance, and keep enjoying our content.

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Warning: Don’t Chase Basic Attention Token (BAT) Momentum

The coin is breaking high on news that Coinbase officially announced the listing of BAT on its exchange. In fact, according to the Coinbase blog:.

The Basic Attention Token (BAT) is about to break out.

At the moment, it’s challenging a double top around 40 cents. If it can break above prior resistance, we believe it could challenge its May 2018 high of $0.5230.

However, we do urge caution at current prices

The coin is breaking high on news that Coinbase officially announced the listing of BAT on its exchange. In fact, according to the Coinbase blog:

“After 1pm PT on Friday, November 2, we will begin accepting inbound transfers of Basic Attention Token (BAT) to Coinbase Pro. We will accept deposits for at least 12 hours prior to enabling trading. Once sufficient liquidity is established, trading on the BAT/USDC order book will start. BAT trading will be accessible for users in most jurisdictions, but will not initially be available for residents of the state of New York.”

However, as we’ve seen with Ethereum Classic (ETC) and 0x (ZRX), momentum can begin to fade following the Coinbase announcement. The same situation may unfold with BAT once the markets had time to fully incorporate the news. Traders can always buy it on pullbacks. There’s still plenty to be excited about.

What is Basic Attention Token (BAT)?

The Basic Attention Token is a project built on the Ethereum blockchain that addresses three key groups in an advertising ecosystem. These include the users, publishers, and advertisers, for example.

At the moment, digital advertising publishers collect personal information about users that visit their sites. They then use this data to provide targeted ads to users. The revenue created by this process is what keeps the publisher in business.

Unfortunately for publishers, users have become quite numb to ads. In fact, they won’t even click the ads. As a result, in an effort to get a simple click, publishers will create obnoxious ads. However, in retaliation, users install ad blockers. That means less money for the publishers.

The BAT Solution to the Problem

The BAT Brave browser contains built-in privacy protection. This way the collection of private data goes out the window. However, it captures user behaviors, which it records on a ledger that can be used for targeted advertising.

With this browser, users can opt into receiving specific ads.

In return for clicking on an ad, users receive BAT tokens as rewards.

Therefore, users are monetized, while receiving fewer ads. Advertisers and publishers are happy with better revenue. In addition, developers no longer inundate users with garbage ads and the potential for fraud.

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Digital News Startup Scroll Expands Ahead of 2019 Launch

Scroll, a startup that aims to sell subscriptions to an ad-free online news bundle, is adding staff ahead of its anticipated launch in the first quarter of …

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Several backers from 2016 increased their investment, including New York Times Co. NYT -2.76% , Uncork Capital and Axel Springer. Samsung Next, the venture-capital arm of Samsung Electronics Co. , is a new investor, as is Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments.

(News Corp., the parent company of The Wall Street Journal publisher Dow Jones, is one of the initial investors in Scroll, but didn’t take part in the new funding.)

Mr. Haile needs to convince publishers and news consumers, two notoriously fickle constituencies, to embrace his vision: a fast-loading, ad-free news experience for $5 a month. In exchange for withholding their ads from Scroll subscribers, the company is promising news organizations 70% of the revenue.

For marketers already facing the spread of media where they can’t advertise, Scroll has the potential to make premium ad inventory more scarce. Publishers faced with rising use of ad-blockers, however, may find this a possible partial solution.

The company had previously lined up publishers including Business Insider, Fusion Media Group, the Atlantic and MSNBC. On Thursday, Mr. Haile announced several new participants, including BuzzFeed, Vox Media and the Daily Beast, bringing the number of partners to 27.

“The big challenge of this business was always, ‘Can you get the publishers to come together where historically it’s not been in their nature to work together?’” Mr. Haile said. “All the major digital natives are now up and working with Scroll.”

Scroll will parcel out its revenue share with publishers based on how much time subscribers spend with their content, with a “bonus” pool paying extra for each subscriber who spends 20% or more of their time with a given publisher.

While the company is testing its product with about 200 people, some paid and others unpaid, its broader appeal remains unproven.

Mr. Haile said the growing adoption of ad-blocking software shows that people are increasingly frustrated with intrusive digital advertising. About 31% of U.S. internet users will use ad-blocking software this year, up from 15.7% in 2014, according to eMarketer.

Ad-blocking software is often free, but Mr. Haile said Scroll is worth paying for partly because it works on phones and other devices that are more resistant to ad blocking than desktops and laptops.

According to research from the marketing software company HubSpot and Adblock Plus, a maker of ad-blocking software, 83% of internet users polled in the U.S., Britain and Germany want the option to block ads on mobile phones and tablets.

Scroll functions across multiple devices by placing a “cookie” on each subscriber’s browsers, Mr. Haile said. When a Scroll-enabled publisher detects a visit from a Scroll subscriber, it serves an ad-free version of its content. Scroll is also designed to work in publishers’ own apps, but that functionality is optional.

Scroll was initially planned to launch this year, but Mr. Haile said signing up publishers took longer than expected. The novelty of Scroll’s business model, combined with the competing priorities of news organizations, has made deal making slow, he said.

“Our focus over the next few months is expanding this private beta and integrating more and more publishers as we go,” Mr. Haile said.

Write to Benjamin Mullin at Benjamin.Mullin@wsj.com

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