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Anyone Every Had Issues With Integral Ad Science?

Having big problem with them

     
10:10 am on Jan 23, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I'm not entirely sure if this is the right section for this post, so please move as I couldn't tell where it should go.

It relates and doesn't relate to my Adsense account.

To make a long story short, I was contacted by an ad network I've used in the past who were looking to get back on our site. We parted ways with them months ago due to malicious mobile ads.

I add them in, and no ads are coming up. After days of trying to figure things out, I finally hear from them and they tell me this company Integral Ad Science gave my site a very low score for my traffic. I guess they are a traffic monitoring service like Double Verify and a lot of networks use them. Luckily none of my current ad partners use them.

They are basically blocking ads from being served to my site. I contact them directly and they start asking me if I guy traffic because my site got flagged for fraud. I was in shock. We've been around for 13 years, a leader in our industry and I get 15-20 million impressions per month. If I was buying traffic Adsense would be the first to axe me. I was really insulted when he accused me of that.

So I ask him on a solution for how we can fix this issue and the company tries to shake me down for 3K per month, telling me I need to include their codes on my site so they could review my traffic and they will send me a fee list. Almost like an Adblocker charging ad networks to be white-listed.

Finally they tell me their data department will review my traffic logs and get back to me within a week.

I get in touch with my Adsense rep and he tells me there are no issues with my account, they see no invalid traffic problems. The same goes for my current ad partners. No issues in Analytics.

I have no idea what to do. No way am I paying them and I have no idea how long that low score stays in place. It basically precludes me from working with any ad network using their service. And the ad network who discovered this problem is pissed. They've worked with me for years, on and off, and are going to bat for me on this but who knows if it will help.

I'm almost at the point of considering my legal options if this drags out too long.

The only thing I could think of is someone was trying to hack us or bot attack us or their system is misreading something that is hitting our site. I'm really grasping at straws on what could have caused this issue with them.

We did recently cross over to a new CMS a month ago. We changed our CMS after ten years and there were hundreds of thousands of pages involved. That could have caused a massive amount of bots hit us from different engines to read and index pages? I'm not sure.
1:37 pm on Jan 23, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Sounds like a shakedown to me. Did you Google them with the word 'scam' yet?
3:00 pm on Jan 23, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I have no idea what to do.

Really? Here's your answer:
We parted ways with them months ago due to malicious mobile ads.

Time to part ways with them again and focus on the ad companies that you have a good relationship with.
4:45 pm on Jan 23, 2016 (gmt 0)

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@jpch, its not the company that services ads, it's the company that montitors for ad fraud. The company that services for ads is fighting hard to get this resolved on my behalf.

@netmeg, they just raised 65 million last year in funding and a lot of ad networks are using them. they are the main competitor to double verify.
4:53 pm on Jan 23, 2016 (gmt 0)

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its not the company that services ads, it's the company that montitors for ad fraud.


What? You mean this monitoring company is doing this and blocking the ads without permission from the ad serving company, that can't be, can it?

If the ad serving outfit has a contract with the monitoring outfit, then it seems to me that it IS the ad serving company you have an issue with.
5:05 pm on Jan 23, 2016 (gmt 0)

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@ken - the ad company has a contract with their clients that every publisher has to maintain a certain "safe traffic" score to receive their ads. They use this company to monitor for that fraud. They are almost like a middleman and every impression is audited before hitting any particular site. The ad network in question spent days before finding out the reason I wasn't receiving ads was because my score went down to low level. As stated, these guys are the competitor to Double Verify, so it's the equivalent of Double Verify telling Adsense I was doing traffic fraud and my account became disabled. Except in this case I have a near perfect traffic score with Double Verify and this company has me on their sh*t list for reasons unknown.

I wouldn't care about this except for that fact that they work with many ad networks. For example, there is a high profile ad network that recently accepted our site and I know I can't work with them now because this monitoring company works with them and will likely block my imressions.
7:19 pm on Jan 23, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I had a quick look at their website and after a minute or so, the following "NEWS ALERT" appeared at the top of every page:

Program Highlights Sellers Able to Transact Based on Discrepancy-Free Viewability Measurement


I'm just past 60 and have been in the computer industry for 35 years. One thing I have learnt is that if I can't understand a sentence in a proposal / sales blurb / etc., I question very carefully who is behind what I'm reading / being told.

That phrase I quote above is absolute goobeldegook. Total and utter garbage. It leaves no doorway open to ask them what it means because there is nothing in it that makes any sense.

Where that leaves the OP I don't know. But that company wont be in business in two years time for sure.
8:11 pm on Jan 23, 2016 (gmt 0)

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maybe it is that ad company after all. if Integral Ad Science are monitoring your traffic via their ads, and you've already said they served malicious mobile ads to you in the past, presumably Integral Ad Science would pick up on anything similar
6:11 am on Jan 24, 2016 (gmt 0)

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@londrum, Integral Ad Science work with a who's who of ad networks. They are main competitor to comscore and double verify. In other words, if you are on their sh*t list with a bad traffic score, they basically block all of their ad network clients from sending your site impressions. So unlike Double Verify knocking you off from just Adsense, you get knocked off from a whole list of networks in one swoop.

Now these guys do eventually rescore websites, but how long that takes is anyone's guess. But they still havent told me the main issue to begin with. We just changed our site over to a new CMS after ten years and there are hundreds of thousands of pages that were changed in terms of making them better SEO wise. I assume with that large volume of pages, it could have created an army of bots to hit the site for indexing and crawling, but who knows.
9:48 am on Jan 24, 2016 (gmt 0)

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but how are they actually monitoring your traffic? How do they know who visits?
You mentioned earlier that it was all done via that other company's ads.
And you also mentioned you stopped working with them once because they delivered you some dodgy ads. If it was me I would just dump that ad company and move on.

even if you get blocked from using some other ad companies, you're not using them anyway. You could end up spending a load of money chasing an A-Grade from companies you don't even use. Sounds like a money loser to me

[edit: just re-read the whole post and noticed you did say you are working with one of them... have they stopped serving your ads as well? it sounds like they are still serving them from what you said.]
10:33 am on Jan 24, 2016 (gmt 0)

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@londrum, they are still serving because they must have a different setting.

From what I understand, they work like a filter. My site user makes the ad request, the request goes to them, if it's a good request for the ad counts. If not, it gets written off as invalid traffic. Works identical as Adsense monitoring with Double Verify.

Basically they claim they are detecting a high level of invalid traffic. I know it doesnt affect me now, but they just signed on at least four well known ad networks in the last two months. If they sign up some of the networks I currently work with, it could spell for a serious issue. They raised 64-65 million in funding last year. They seem to be on the rise. You likely see their ad requests and don;t even notice. Usually have URLs in the chain like "adsafeprotect"
6:43 am on Jan 26, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I would drop this ad network. First they already served malware before.

I visited this "Integral Ads" to read more about it and the first thing it happens is a script tries to download some infected file from usp.br (a Brazilian university) which is instantly blocked by Norton as "DNS Changer".

Seriously, let go. Forget about these folks.
6:52 am on Jan 26, 2016 (gmt 0)

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@freitasm, They are not a network, they are a traffic filtering system. Intregal Ads work with Burst, Conversant, OpenX, Pulse Point, Sovrn, and many, many more. When you get those low rankings from them, you are in a sense blocked off from getting ad fill from everyone in their portfolio. Think of them as a credit review board and if they decide you have bad credit, then nobody will issue you a loan.
3:32 pm on Jan 26, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I get what you're saying - it's like if your email server somehow gets on the spam blacklist, it's nearly impossible to get it off, and it means lots of servers all over the world won't be able to send you email till you do get off the blacklist.

But I don't think anyone here can help you, you're going to have to go after this company hard to find out what the process is for getting off their sh*tlist. Me, I'd do a bunch of googling to find others who have had the same experience, because you *can't* be the only one.

But in the meantime, I think you're just plain stuck. Start thinking about about your Plan B in case you can't get off the list.
5:56 pm on Jan 26, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Feeling your pain vegasrick . This does happen from time to time (with all of the big players in this space, not just integral) .

I've seen it a few times. My experience might not shed much light, but I'll share none the less.

* They do rescore. Time taken seems to vary - I've never had a straight answer
* They usually have valid reasons. If you can figure it out and make sure that it is not still happening then the chances of it going away when they do rescore will improve greatly. Assuming there is nothing risky about the content look for anything relating to bad traffic or that might inflate ad impressions as these are what they are trying to protect advertisers from.
* They probably don't care less that you are blocked. They're all juggernauts dealing with impression by the billion and accept that their systems will cause collateral damage. Don't stop trying, but don't pin your hopes on it either
* Many networks can choose to make exceptions. Just because they subscribe to a service it doesn't mean that they have to follow its recommendations. Sweet talk your account manager. Make sure that they can't make an exception (or at least understand if that is because they still see a risk).
* If you aren't on all the major lists someone will take your inventory

Good luck. Unaccountable blacklists are a crappy thing.
10:32 pm on Feb 1, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I really need your help guys. I think someone is trying to put me out of business.

I just had another network drop us, claiming that I was flagged for three days straight with suspicious traffic activity.

How can I stop this? Is there any service that someone can recommend?

I really need some help here.
11:24 pm on Feb 1, 2016 (gmt 0)

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If you really do have bad traffic then presumably its all automated rather than human. You really need to dig into your logs and see where its coming from. only then can you work out a way to block it
Start by looking at those three days that the company flagged up

I wouldnt jump to conclusions about it being someone targeting you, though. It could just as easily be a mindless script
11:29 pm on Feb 1, 2016 (gmt 0)

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What I did in the meantime is go to Cloudflare.

I have them running all my traffic now. They will keep a better log than my servers I'd guess?
4:13 pm on Feb 9, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I've run across them as well. Due to the nature of one of my sites I see a lot of users behind proxies and VPNs and that flags as a concern for ad networks. Curious to know to CloudFlare helps increase your score with Integral Ad Science.
6:51 pm on Feb 9, 2016 (gmt 0)

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@chrispcritters - Our score is going up. Cloudflare does block out a ton of bots, spammers and hackers. We've had 70,000 blocks just last week alone. I also set a challenge to any traffic coming from India, Pakistan and the Middle East. I noticed there was a high volume of traffic coming from that region with spam intentions.

I should note that I am under the business package and utilize their firewall, which does the majority of the blocks. The amount of fake googlebots and fake bingbots being blocked is ridiculous.
7:34 pm on Feb 9, 2016 (gmt 0)

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That is good to know. Who is letting you know your score is changing, the ad network or IAS? IAS refused to talk to me unless, like you, I was willing to pay them some big bucks.
8:55 pm on Feb 9, 2016 (gmt 0)

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@chrispcritters. I hijacked their API and can see my score whenever I want. It drove them insane that I wouldn't tell them how I have access to the API.
3:31 am on Feb 27, 2016 (gmt 0)

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@chrispcritters - as of two days ago my score with IAS increased to where I'm no longer blocked by any network using their service and my overall traq score really increased as well.

Cloudflare's firewall, security settings and some of my own blocks seem to have done the trick.