Google Database Sets Foundation For Ad Tech’s Master Blacklist Of Bad Bots

The Trustworthy Accountability Group is piloting the program to block fraudulent ad traffic from data center bots at their source.


To fight malicious activity in the programmatic advertising ecosystem, the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) is aiming to create a master blacklist of IP addresses associated with driving fraudulent bot-generated ad requests from data centers.

In the new pilot, Google’s database of data center IP addresses will lay the foundation for the blacklist. Other ad tech leaders partnering in the effort — Facebook, Yahoo, Dstillery, MediaMath, Quantcaast, Rubicon Project and TubeMogul — will add to it with their own blacklists and internal data.

“Industry leaders like Google are stepping up to the plate to provide the information and tools we need to block fraudulent and illegitimate ad traffic at its source,” said TAG CEO Mike Zaneis. “This program is another piece of the interlocking set of solutions TAG is building to fight fraud across the entire ecosystem. The industry is galvanizing its efforts and we will win the war against fraud.”

A Google blog post added that the blacklist will include bots that are running in data centers but have avoided inclusion in the IAB/ABC International Spiders & Bots List, a list that includes submissions from IAB members and is updated monthly.

Data centers are large server networks that allow companies to run software at scale, including legitimately scanning large numbers of websites using bots to perform tasks such as search, comparing product prices and measuring ad campaign performance. Scammers, however, can mask data center bots to appear as human visitors to websites and ads systems.

“The information-sharing platform being developed in the Anti-Fraud Working Group will include data center IP addresses identified to be running these fraudulent or deceptive software bots,” explains TAG.

The ad tech industry then can act to block traffic from blacklisted IP addresses. This effort follows on TAG’s Fraud Threat List, a shared list of Web domains driving fraudulent traffic.

The group has announced plans to release “a set of principles for public comment” and a final anti-fraud tool based on the balcklist to the industry by the end of the year.

(Some images used under license from


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