Eyeota Announces Partnership with The Media Trust To Bring World-Class Protection Solutions to Online Publishers in Asia Pacific and Europe

SINGAPORE, July 7, 2014 – Eyeota, the world’s largest international audience data marketplace, today announced a partnership with The Media Trust, a global leader in monitoring and protecting the online and mobile advertising ecosystems, to provide world-class transparency, verification and protection tools to Eyeota’s publishers and data providers across the globe.

With a physical presence in 500 global cities located across six continents, The Media Trust’s proprietary website and ad tag scanning technology provides continuous, non-stop protection against malware, web and mobile anomalies, site performance issues and data leakage, which can lead to lost revenue and privacy violations. Both collectively and individually these can and do harm the customer experience, negate a publisher’s ability to monetize its own audience data, lead to possible privacy violations and damage the publisher’s and data provider’s reputation and, ultimately, revenue. More than 400 publishers, ad networks, exchanges, agencies and corporate enterprises from across the online and mobile ad ecosystems use The Media Trust’s suite of continuous, non-stop detecting, inspecting, alerting and verification services to protect their website.

“As audience-based ad targeting is becoming the norm, publishers have realized their data is their number one asset. Publishers are exposed daily to data theft, data skimming and data leakage. Eyeota has partnered with The Media Trust to bring the best protection, transparency and verification tools to publishers across the globe. The Media Trust is the world leader in data and malware protection for publishers. More than 75% of the top publishers in the United States use their solutions to monitor, protect and shield their data.” Said Kevin Tan, CEO, Eyeota.

He added, “Given the inherent complexity of online ad serving, publishers need continuous, 24/7 monitoring of all ad tags and tools running on their sites, as well as real-time alerts on any unauthorized tracking of website visitors. This partnership not only brings a comprehensive suite of services to our publishers, but it also demonstrates the importance Eyeota continues to place on publishers and the job of protecting their online assets. The Media Trust offers best-in-class solutions, and we are very pleased to announce this partnership.”

Chris Olson, chief executive officer and co-founder of The Media Trust said, “Partnering with Eyeota in international markets was a natural decision. Not only is Eyeota the trusted leader in third-party monetization and management solutions for publishers worldwide, but their publisher-centric focus demonstrates they understand publishers’ challenges and needs as well as the value of their data.”

The Media Trust monitoring and protection solutions will be available worldwide on the Eyeota platform beginning immediately.

For more information please contact:

Eyeota: Laura Keeling – lkeeling@eyeota.com, Telephone: +65 9117.3718

The Media Trust: Ellen Donovan – ellen@themediatrust.com, Telephone +1 404.374.7822

Spammy Ads That Hijack Your Smartphone Are Now A Virtual Plague

In the past two weeks I have been forced into Apple’s App Store not once, not twice—but five times from a handful of different websites.

At first I thought it was a human error—like, maybe my large thumbs just accidentally tapped on a game ad. When it happened again, I assumed it was just a bug. After a third time, I realized it was intentional—an advertisement deliberately sent me to the App Store to buy a mobile game.

I never play mobile games, I’ve never downloaded Candy Crush, and I hate spammy advertisements. So the third time I was sent to the App Store to download Bingo Blitz, I wanted to take my phone and smash it to bits. 

Instead, I emailed The Awl, a website I read frequently and whose mobile site kept forcing me into the App Store, to ask what the problem was. Were they intentionally allowing advertising networks to place spammy ads on their site so poor souls like me would download Bingo Blitz and Candy Crush?

Turns out The Awl was just as frustrated as I was. A representative for the company told me it’s an insidious problem that’s been plaguing the site for a couple weeks.

The Awl is not alone. These ads have been hitting websites all over, and publishers are struggling to take them down. NBC Sports had a similar problem earlier this year. The company claimed the ad product came from Google, and to remedy it, NBC blocked all mobile game ads from its mobile site.

What Are These Spammy Ad Redirects?

Just like we’ve seen on the desktop Web, mobile apps and browsers can inadvertently serve up malicious advertisements and annoying popups.

As mobile apps take over our devices, advertisers are beginning to use so-called “deep links” to encourage users to download even more applications. When someone taps on a deep-linked ad, it takes them from an app or mobile browser directly to a separate application or a download page in the platform’s app store.

These types of advertisements are becoming increasingly popular. Deep-linked ads account for a large portion of Facebook’s ad revenue.

Mobile ad redirects result when malicious—or maybe just faulty—JavaScript in a mobile ad runs on a Web page. When you’re browsing your favorite website and suddenly find yourself in an app store, it’s the result of a bad deep link. (Sometimes you can end up on porn sites, or even on a porn site masquerading as an app store.)

Alex Calic, chief revenue officer at The Media Trust, an advertising verification company, said that while some ads are nefarious—intentionally booting you out of an app or website—much of it is just bad code.

“When the Web was launched, there was a lot of creative, shady activity people produced; we’re now seeing a lot of that on mobile—but there’s also just bad coding,” Calic said. “Desktop Web is standardized, like script code and iframe code, and they work when you put them into the system to scan. On mobile, there are a lot of different ways to do things.”

Who’s At Fault?

Don’t go angrily tweet that your favorite site is serving up shoddy ads as soon as you’re thrown into an app store. It’s not the publisher’s fault. It’s not the fault of Apple, Google or Microsoft, either.  

Most publishers use third-party advertising networks to distribute ads. These networks are responsible for delivering redirects. Websites buy inventory from networks that are in charge of delivering advertising content, thus forced to display whatever they get. 

One user of the social new site Reddit noted that three different ad networks were serving up these spammy ads on his site and he couldn’t prevent it.

Sometimes these ad networks verify the ads before they’re distributed, but often, malicious or annoying advertisements can slip through the cracks, either because there wasn’t a quality check, or because an advertiser added redirect code after the ad was screened. 

It’s very difficult for a publisher to prevent spammy redirects—they don’t know it’s an issue until someone like you or me experiences it on the client side. “Most prevention has to happen on the server side,” Calic said. “You don’t know if something is a problem until it occurs. It’s hard to stop at the point of delivery.”

Because some ad networks charge by the click or install, an advertisement that redirects someone to a download page could make more money for the company. Most app makers frown on this kind of behavior, and some don’t know when it’s happening.

King, the maker of Candy Crush (whose game I’ve been redirected two twice in the last couple of weeks), disapproves of this type of advertising. “King does not condone this practice and we do everything in our power to prevent it,” a spokesperson from King told ReadWrite. “Our contracts forbid it and we will terminate contracts with any suppliers found in breach of contract by creating these redirects.” 

How Can They Be Prevented?

Publishers can use products like the Media Trust’s Mobile Scanner that can automatically detect ad redirects, but unfortunately, there’s very little users can do to prevent seeing them.

The next time you’re forced into an app store from a mobile website, screenshot the app, copy the link to the ad and send both to the publisher. Websites can’t do anything to stop these ads from appearing if they don’t know the ads are there.

Every mobile advertisement is tagged with a code, so if the publisher figures out the ad tag, it can go back to the ad network and tell them to kill the ad, or not run it on their site.

If you’d rather not see these ads at all, there are a handful of ad-blocking apps that prevent popups on mobile, just like they do on the Web: Adblock Plus for Android, and Weblock and Adblock for iOS. 

Alternatively, you can disable JavaScript in your mobile browser. It’s not the best idea because it could render much of the Web useless, but it will effectively stop the redirect ads. You can turn off JavaScript on your iPhone by scrolling to Safari in the Settings app, tapping “Advanced,” and toggling JavaScript off. For Google Chrome on Android and iOS, find “Settings” in the Chrome menu, then select “Content settings.”

We’re still suffering with spammy popup ads on our desktop computers, so it’s likely we’ll continue to be frustrated on mobile in the foreseeable future. But if users start complaining to publishers, they can then pressure ad networks to do something to stop these redirects—and make the mobile Web a much better experience. 

MediaCrossing has created a video that illustrates the incredibly short but complex life cycle of a programmatic RTB ad. Watch as a digital ad is bid on, bought, sold, delivered, and seen. It begins the moment your browser loads, and in the blink of an eye, an ad is served.

As of last month, a whopping one in five mobile users who were directed to malware got there by clicking on a Web ad.

The Media Trust and PubMatic Announce New Standard in Brand Safety Across Mobile Applications

Integration Helps Address Publishers’ Mobile App Brand Control Struggles

Redwood City, CA (February 26, 2014) The Media Trust, the global leader in monitoring and protecting the online and mobile advertising ecosystem, and PubMatic, the programmatic advertising platform company for leading publishers, today announced a new solution for improving brand safety across mobile inventory, focused particularly on mobile applications, one of the fastest growing areas of demand in mobile.

The solution utilizes an API to push pre-parsed mobile ad tags from PubMatic to The Media Trust for the individual creative behind a given ad placement, enabling The Media Trust to monitor ad tags across all mobile platforms and device types simultaneously. The result is a faster, more comprehensive mobile quality solution for PubMatic’s premium publisher base across mobile applications, mobile web, desktop and video inventory—an important advantage for publishers with cross-screen digital assets.

“Mobile users have zero tolerance for poorly performing, non-responsive apps and websites, quickly rejecting them if they fail. So, it’s critical publishers and their advertisers have confidence in the ads running on their sites and in their mobile apps. This joint solution from PubMatic and The Media Trust provides that confidence and sets a new standard in mobile app brand safety,” said Chris Olson, founder and CEO of The Media Trust. “The robust integration designed by PubMatic’s technology team can easily manage and pass large volumes of mobile creative to The Media Trust, which performs quality assurance scanning of mobile assets in real time.”

Launched last quarter and available globally, the brand control solution was a joint development initiative between The Media Trust and PubMatic designed to provide myriad benefits for mobile application developers, cross-media publishers and mobile-specific publishers, including:

  • Immediate scanning of creative assets behind a placement across multiple device types for both mobile applications and mobile web;
  • Quick resolution for creative quality issues;
  • Comprehensive security and fraud (including mobile redirect) protection;
  • Improved capabilities for ensuring that ad placements are operable across device types, mobile web, and hundreds of geographic locations;
  • Improved support for apps running on iOS and Android devices.

“The industry needs better quality assurance in mobile, particularly with regard to applications,” said Bob Walczak, GM of Mobile & Video at PubMatic. “The solution we developed with The Media Trust not only solves a difficult problem in the mobile industry, but allows publishers, brands and consumers to benefit from better quality inventory and a more desirable customer experience.”

The expansion of PubMatic’s brand control capabilities across mobile applications and in-stream video ads underscores the company’s continued commitment to technological innovation, especially within the mobile realm, and follows the recent addition of video RTB to PubMatic’s existing mobile and display capabilities. This addition strengthens the company’s One Platform multiscreen solution for publishers operating across mobile, tablet and display.

About The Media Trust
Established in 2005, The Media Trust is the global leader in monitoring and protecting the online and mobile advertising ecosystem. With a physical presence in 65 countries and 500 cities located around the globe, The Media Trust provides website security to protect against malware, site performance issues and data leakage, which leads to lost revenue and privacy violations. The Company also provides ad campaign quality automation technology, verifying online ad campaigns and enabling comprehensive quality assurance. More than 400 publishers, ad networks, exchanges, agencies and corporate advertisers from across the online and mobile ad ecosystems—including 39 of comScore’s AdFocus Top 50 websites —rely on The Media Trust’s comprehensive suite of detection and alerting services to protect their website, their revenue and, most importantly, their brand. For more information, please visit www.themediatrust.com.

About PubMatic

PubMatic is the technology platform that powers the programmatic advertising strategy of leading publishers and premium brands. Its innovative solutions help content providers drive the highest value for their digital media assets and provide consumers with a more personalized advertising experience across display, mobile and video. PubMatic’s One Platform, proprietary technology and advanced mobile capabilities are utilized by a global roster of comScore publishers. Pioneering online auctions for the buying and selling of media through Real-Time Bidding (RTB) and Private Marketplace (PMP), the company also works with hundreds of advertising partners. Ranked by Deloitte as one of the fastest growing companies in the US Internet sector in both 2012 and 2013, PubMatic has offices worldwide with headquarters in Redwood City, California.

Newest Hacker Target: Ads

"There is an arms race," said Chris Olson, chief executive of The Media Trust, an ad-security company in McLean, Va.

Media’s Coverage of The Media Trust

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Last week’s announcement of our Mobile Media Scanner solution was picked-up by both mainstream tech and mobile publications including and interview with Sarah Perez of TechCrunch with ’The Media Trust debuts a solution to fight shady app install ads automatically redirecting users to app stores' and a write-up in App Developer Magazine- New Service Combats Mobile Ad Redirects and Malvertising. Enjoy the reads.

The Media Trust Announces the Release of Mobile Scanner, a Service For the Immediate Detection and Remediation of Mobile Redirects

Mobile Scanner’s functionality is a major step in the prevention of mobile redirects, which negatively impact the user experience, revenue streams and the overall credibility of the mobile ad ecosystem

The Media Trust, the global leader in monitoring and protecting the online and mobile advertising ecosystem, today announced the release of Mobile Scanner, a subscription-based service that immediately detects and stops mobile redirects before they can negatively impact the user experience and revenues for publishers, ad networks, exchanges and Demand Side Platforms (DSPs). Designed specifically for the mobile ecosystem, this new service scans client’s mobile websites, applications and ad tags on a constant, 24/7 basis, ensuring immediate detection of mobile redirects on pre-scan as well as any changes in flight. Mobile Scanner customizes the level of daily scans performed based on the specific security needs of each client.

More specifically, the service constantly scans all direct, rotating and programmatic ad serve tags and content found on either a mobile website or mobile application. Providing comprehensive support for the iOS, Android and Microsoft Mobile platforms, Mobile Scanner works across a wide range of device types, including iPad, iPhone, Kindle Fire and all leading Android devices.

 A mobile redirect is a small piece of code embedded into an ad tag or recommended third-party content. When the infected ad or content appears on the mobile device’s screen, the user is suddenly and abruptly redirected from their current website or app to app stores, pornographic sites or other unwanted content. Mobile device users’ tolerance for these redirects is extremely low so it’s critical to detect and terminate the redirects before they interrupt the user experience.

This task, however, is complicated by the complex nature of the mobile ad and third-party content ecosystems. During the process of serving an ad or content, these mobile redirects can easily be inserted at multiple entry points, making early detection and the identification of the culprits extremely difficult. Therefore, the only way to prevent mobile redirects from disrupting end users and revenue streams is through constant, 24/7 monitoring of websites, ad tags and content, which allows for their immediate detection, interception and termination.

“Mobile redirects are quickly becoming a major headache for all players in the mobile advertising and content-serving ecosystems. Unfortunately, there is no quick fix as the threat is constant. The Media Trust’s Mobile Scanner provides publishers, ad networks, exchanges and DSPs with the 24/7 vigilance needed to combat these redirects,” said Chris Olson, The Media Trust’s founder and CEO. “This new service also underscores our total commitment to securing the ads, content and websites of all participants in the mobile and online ad ecosystem.”

The Media Trust scans more than 150 million ad tags and 750,000 websites each month.  From this expansive, yet detailed view into the mobile and online ad ecosystem, the Company determined 75% of all current mobile redirects originate from gaming ads run through ad networks. The remaining 25% of redirects occur in travel, CPG, automotive and banking ads as well as third-party content, including content recommendation engines, reviews or other third-party sources. A vast majority of the redirects The Media Trust detected redirect users to application marketplaces, where other mobile games are typically promoted. The remainder of the redirects observed pushed device users to either pornographic or hack financial and phishing websites.

In several isolated incidents, The Media Trust’s Malware Team has detected and helped terminate mobile redirects containing malicious code; but at this time malware is not a widespread problem in mobile redirects. Eventually, as malware providers become more proficient at exploiting mobile operating systems and specific device types, the Company’s Malware Team predicts the insertion of malicious code into mobile redirects will become commonplace.  Subsequently, it’s critical to adopt the technology needed to protect mobile websites, apps and ad tags from mobile redirects now.

Today, most threats—like with mobile redirects—spread via third-party access to websites, which places them beyond IT’s direct control, so to focus solely on firewalls and protecting one’s own content is insufficient. Furthermore, while traditional security methods will eventually detect mobile redirects, their long lag times between detection and resolution cannot prevent the user experience, revenues and, ultimately, the website’s brand from being negatively impacted. Constant, 24/7 monitoring of websites relying on third-party code is the only means to minimize, mitigate and prevent not just mobile redirects, but also malware, site performance issues and data  leakage, which leads to privacy violations and the unauthorized monetization of a website’s audience data by a third party.