16 October 2017, 18:10
admitad Traffic Quality Control Department
The Traffic Quality Control Department, as it is today, was established at admitad in 2017. The objectives of the department are quite simple. On the other hand, their accomplishment involves everyday meticulous work with lots of data and reports.
The quality control team makes the company traffic more attractive and useful for advertisers, identifying and separating all kinds of fakers, violators and cookie stuffers from publishers interested in providing high quality advertising campaigns without violation of affiliate program conditions.
Traffic quality is a complex notion including both technical aspects related to fraud (purposeful misrepresentation of facts or juggling causing damage to persons or companies) and demonstratively logical ones when technically the rules required by the advertiser are not violated but the effectiveness of those actions tends toward zero.
For example, when publishers try to get fake registrations by means of VPN/proxy or use incent tasks for installation of extensions.
In CPA marketing, high quality traffic is supposed to fulfill its primary function: it is to satisfy the advertiser’s needs, i.e. result in sales, high quality registrations or any other target actions required by the advertiser.
CPA market comprises a money flow. And where there is money, there are always people who want to get it by any means, without regard to the conditions under which it can be earned.
These include, above all, cookie spoofing, brand bidding, unlawful spreading of affiliate links, the use of prohibited kinds of traffic as well as any kinds of violations which are unacceptable for our advertising clients.
Types of Violators
Some words about what the traffic quality control team has to deal with in its everyday work.
- Violators are publishers whose traffic in any way does not comply with the rules set by the advertiser.
- Cookie stuffers are publishers who intentionally use various Internet technologies for spreading affiliate links to mark the advertiser’s website clients.
- Fakers are publishers who try to create non-existent orders/purchases or take any actions which the advertiser pays for.
- Publishers who abuse search advertising involving brand names. It is essential to distinguish between publishers using the brand name in their search engine advertising whose affiliate link leads to the advertiser’s website and those who use the brand name to attract traffic to their own websites (for example, landing pages or coupon sites).
Objectives of admitad Traffic Quality Control Department
Daily detection of violations, analysis of monitoring reports provided by special tools and agencies, separation of detected violators from “good” publishers able to provide excellent results for advertisers.
Traffic Quality Control Department’s Tools
Detection and selection of relevant persons is carried out by means of internal monitoring system and a few rather simple but efficient traffic tracking tools.
BrandGuard is a tool designed to monitor key queries of search engines and protect from brand bidding. This tool has been used for more than two years. It can efficiently detect contextual queries provided by advertisers in search engines. Monitoring is activated for the resources agreed upon with the advertiser managers beforehand.
ICStuffres is a very powerful up-to-date tool developed with support from admitad and designed for detecting all existing ways of spoofing and automatic registration of cookies.
ICStuffers is able to log an event, how and when the cookies are spoofed.
The example on the screen shows that a client was placing an order from the cart and once he or she got to the payment page, an affiliate link appeared in 2 seconds. This clearly indicates that cookies were somehow rewritten.
An important part in detecting violators is played by admitad internal statistics system. Statistics are collected in view of publishers’ traffic volume for particular advertisers.
In this example, if there are lots on clicks for advertising companies with almost no sales, publishers’ working methods have to be inspected to see what platforms and ways of traffic acquisition are used. If those actions are not effective, department members contact the publishers and suggest that they modify their advertising campaigns to increase their efficiency or suspend the advertising campaign.
What happens when violations are found?
admitad utilizes a few methods to restrain violations. They all depend on the nature of the violation committed by a publisher.
In most cases, if the unauthorized working methods used by a publisher have not caused any damage to the advertiser (mainly a high affiliate fee for the targeted actions involving violations), admitad only issues a warning and demands that the working methods be changed.
If some working patterns aimed exclusively at gaining bad traffic have been detected, the publishers are deactivated at the stage when they only start using them.
In the event of brand bidding, payments for the dates of the registered target actions when brand search queries were detected are declined. Then, it is recommended that such methods be avoided to exclude all possible keyword queries involving the brand name. If the warning is ignored, the publisher is removed from all affiliate programs where target actions involving violations of the working conditions have been detected.
In some cases a long-term violation restraint system can be applied for “brand bidders” when the advertiser benefits from any attempts of violating the rules set for an offer. Thus, if a publisher gains traffic using brand bidding, the advertiser receives it but all target actions from the channel are declined.
Dealing with Brand Bidders
A cunning publisher has decided to earn money from brand bidding where it is prohibited.
The publisher has created some advertisements using his or her affiliate link, for example, in Google. As a result, the entire first page of the search results is filled with links to the advertiser’s website. We have traced this advertisement from the CPA network, closed all relevant payments and the result is as follows:
The publisher’s advertising campaign has helped to boost the amount of leads on the advertiser’s website.
At the same time, it discourages brand bidders from using such methods in their advertising campaigns making them think of some good ways of work. They pay for the search advertising but they do not get paid under the CPA because such requests are declined. In the end, they stop spending money on search advertising which does not generate any profit for them.
Controversial Points Concerning Detected Violations
In some cases an advertiser may receive traffic which is consistent with the rules of the selected program but does not bring any positive results.
In this case, it should be clearly understood what the advertiser wants to have as incoming traffic. Then, there will be much fewer controversial situations.
In order to provide high quality work, we continuously:
- maintain and upgrade traffic monitoring and control facilities in accordance with up-to-date Internet tracking technologies
- clarify all possible controversial points concerning kinds of traffic with the advertiser at the stage of the advertiser’s connecting to the affiliate network (so that, for example, coupon or cashback traffic is not perceived as fraud).
These two simple points allow us to filter traffic and publishers distinguishing between those that are beneficial for advertisers and those making attempts of conducting advertising campaigns in an unscrupulous and unsatisfactory way.
The traffic quality control team is an independent department within the company. It means that neither company managers working with advertisers or publishers can influence detection or restraint of violations, nor any external sources can make anyone turn a blind eye to a violation.
There have already been some attempts of bribery and something like threatening but they have resulted in nothing. The department fulfills its functions which are clearly defined, so it is useless to bribe anyone. People can be replaced while the functions will still be fulfilled.
Psychology and Risks of Violations
Publishers should be aware that if they violate the rules of affiliate programs, try to make quick money on the spot, in the short turn… Most likely, they are going to fail. Besides, those schemes are poorly scalable. Moreover, we in admitad quality control department will discover any violations anyway, and the time and resources will be wasted. The money will stay on hold and payment will be declined.
admitad traffic quality control department recommends that money and resources be utilized for working in compliance with all the applicable rules. It is more efficient and profitable in the long run and, more importantly, allows for scaling.