Google acquires advertising fraud detection start-up Spider.io

London-based company identifies when banner ads are legitimately seen by human visitors

A UK start-up that claims to allow companies to identify when display ads on the Internet are being legitimately viewed by human visitors has been bought by US search engine giant Google in a second landmark deal of 2014.

Founded in October 2012 by Douglas De Jager, Ashley Brown and Vergard Johnson, London-based spider.io claims to allow companies to see exactly how many times an ad has been viewed by real human site visitors, as opposed to web crawlers or bots.

The company says its fraud detection technology tackles one of the web’s most endemic challenges faced by advertisers –artificially inflated ad views set up in order to generate more pay-per-click revenue.

The acquisition, for an undisclosed sum, represents a move on the part of Google to integrate spider.io’s technology into its advertising and digital marketing business – the main source of the US giant’s income.

In a post on its DoubleClick advertising blog, Google described spider.io’s offering as ‘world-class’ and said it would help in its aim to ‘weed out bad actors and improve the entire digital ecosystem’.

The spider.io purchase is Google’s second UK start-up acquisition of 2014, following the purchase of ‘artificial intelligence’ start-up DeepMind Technologies for a reported £242m in January.

Commenting on the purchase, Neal Mohan, vice president for display advertising at Google, said: “As an industry, we can address [the issue of fraudulent advertising] and block those who seek to game the system.

“We can make digital the platform of choice for all marketers – including brands – to invest. And we can offer accountable media for all; we’re excited to take this next big step.”

 

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