Wheelings & Dealings: Google Buys Fraud Prevention Start-up Spider.io

By Peter Bernstein February 21, 2014

Google continues it march to ensure that users and advertisers can have trusted and trustworthy experiences on Google services. Following on the recent acquisition of SlickLogin, a developer of technology that relies on inaudible sounds transmitted by a smartphone to a PC to authenticate a user, and Impermium, a provider of cybersecurity/threat protection services, comes the news that Google is buying (for an undisclosed sum) click fraud detection start-up spider.io.

Keeping the net safe for advertisers

In a movie and hit Broadway show there is a song that speaks to why this acquisition is important. It is entitled, Money Makes the World go Around. As Neal Mohan, VP, Display Advertising for Google posted in an item, Investing in a cleaner, more accountable web with spider.io

“Advertising helps fund the digital world we love today…But this vibrant ecosystem only flourishes if marketers can buy media online with the confidence that their ads are reaching real people, that results they see are based on actual interest. To grow the pie for everyone, we need to take head on the issue of online fraud.”

He noted that Google has a history of trying to keep bad actors out of its ad systems, and that the acquisition of spider.io adds a crucial weapon in its efforts to give advertisers peace of mind. Mohan went on to explain that: “Our immediate priority is to include their fraud detection technology in our video and display ads products, where they will complement our existing efforts. Over the long term, our goal is to improve the metrics that advertisers and publishers use to determine the value of digital media and give all parties a clearer, cleaner picture of what campaigns and media are truly delivering strong results. Also, by including spider.io’s fraud fighting expertise in our products, we can scale our efforts to weed out bad actors and improve the entire digital ecosystem.”

He also gave a tip of the hat to industry efforts like the IAB’s Traffic of Good Intent (TOGI) task force, and others working to provide advertisers accurate and authenticated information.

Since money does make the world go around, clearly pleasing advertisers is a huge deal. This is true  because having trust is a way of heavily advertiser supported services such as Google’s providing differentiated value to their main revenue producers. It also provides a nice defense from potential lawsuits by advertisers down the road that Google, and others, are providing them with fraudulent subscriber information. Just think of the expense involved, for instance, if user profile information which advertisers rely on for highly targeted campaigns were compromised. Depending upon the size of the mischief perpetrated by bad actors this could not only amount to a very tidy sum, but also would be a major blow to the Google brand and a reason for advertisers to be more circumspect about their spends.

Given the reliance all of us have on Google, and the desirability of the advertizing sponsored model keeping many if not all of Google’s services free, this is a nice acquisition with significant importance not just for advertisers but for all of us.

Edited by Cassandra Tucker
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