Are your brand’s advertisements showing up on porn sites?

15% of advertisements appear on sites that harm the brand’s reputation, reveals a new report. For instance, finding a Pepsi ad in a pornographic website results in brand damage for the company.

The report, published last month by Integral Ad Science, has drawn attention to a new risk category in online advertising. Major brands use ad networks to distribute their marketing budget between multiple websites, and sometimes lose control of the sites on which they advertise. No brand wants its ads to appear on gambling or porn sites; yet, considering that in 2014 the global internet advertising revenue amounted to $135B, around $18B are being spent every year on ads placed in undesired websites.

Spotting the malpractice of illegitimate ad-placement is becoming trickier due to the publishers' higher sophistication. The traditional way to validate ad-placement is to use a proxy network to scan target websites, visit them several times until all allocated ads are exhausted, and verify that indeed no ads representing the legitimate brands appear.

So why are these adverts still showing up on these publishers' sites? The publishers are clever - when they detect traffic from data center IPs (such as those available in proxy networks), they hide the big brand ads.

Verifiers can buy residential IP addresses from a local Internet Service Provider, and by checking the target sites at a slow pace they are able to keep their activities below the radar. The use of residential IPs solves the data center ID problem, but has downfalls in terms of scale, cost, and operation.

A relatively new alternative that verifiers are relying on is a peer-to-peer (P2P) proxy network called Luminati, powered by Hola.

Hola is a VPN service used by millions of people to circumvent internet censorship. It’s a free network for non-commercial use, in which each user is helping others by contributing a portion of its free resources to route their requests. Users can either contribute to this network to get this service for free, or pay a subscription of $5/month to enjoy the VPN and not contribute their resources.

By using Luminati, brands are able to avoid unintended placement of their advertisements by employing Luminati’s vast pool of residential IPs which cannot be blocked or be deceived by publishers.

This trend aims to reduce the ability of ad agencies to place brand advertising on such sites.

Start free trial