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The Resource Center / Ad Fraud

Ad Fraud Glossary

There are many terms that are used in discussions about ad fraud. This glossary was gathered from recognized industry sources and will be updated as required.


Ad Fraud

The deliberate practice of attempting to serve ads that have no potential to be viewed by a human user.

Ad Injection

This happens when ad tags are taken from a publisher’s site and put onto another site without the publisher’s knowledge.

Ad Tag Hijacking

This occurs when online ads are not delivered by the publisher of the site that a user is visiting but by software residing on their machine.


Software, often automatically installed on user devices, that serves visible or hidden ads to users to boost ad consumption.

Adware Traffic

This occurs when a user is present and additional html or ad calls are made by the AdWare independently of the content being requested by the user.


Bot Fraud

This occurs when non-human traffic registers as an impression or clicks on an ad.


Any type of autonomous software that operates as an agent for a user or a program, or simulates a human activity.

Browser Pre-rendering

A device that makes html or ad requests ahead of specific human-initiated navigation to the requested resources.


Crawler Masquerading as a Legitimate User

A browser, server, or app that makes page load calls automatically without declaring themselves as a robot, instead declaring a valid regular browser or app user agent where there is no real human user.

Creative Hijacking

This refers to the copying of creative tags from a legitimately served ad so they can be rendered at a later time, without the consent of the advertiser or their contracted service provider.


Data-center Traffic

This originates from servers in data-centers, rather than residential or corporate networks, where the ad is not rendered in a user’s device.

Direct Buy

When a marketer purchases impressions in bulk for specific contexts and sites.


General Invalid Traffic (GIVT)

Traffic identified through routine means of filtration, such as bots and spiders.


Hijacked Device

A user’s device that has been modified to call html or make ad requests that is not under the control of a user and made without the user’s consent.



An umbrella term used to refer to a variety of forms of intrusive software, including adware.


Non-browser User-Agent Header

A device that declares a user-agent header not normally associated with human activity.

Non-human Traffic

This most often refers to bots that create fraudulent ad impressions.


Phantom Layer

This is where fraudulent web traffic is generated and laundered.

Proxy Traffic

This traffic is routed through an intermediary proxy device or network where the ad is rendered in a user’s device where there is a real human user.



This refers to a form of internet marketing where an advertising campaign is applied to a variety of websites without the ability to choose specific sites.


Sophisticated Invalid Traffic (SIVT)

Invalid traffic that requires advanced analytics, multi-point corroboration/coordination, significant human intervention, etc., to analyze and identify—including hijacked devices, malware, or hijacked ad tags.

Sourced Traffic

This occurs when a digital media seller uses any method to acquire visitors through third parties.