Services for Advertisers – Avoiding Waste and Improving Accountability

In the course of my research on spyware/adware, typosquatting, popups, and other controversial online practices, I have developed the ability to identify practices that overcharge online advertisers. I report my observations to select advertisers and top networks in order to assist them in improving the cost-effectiveness of their advertising including by flagging improper ad placements, rejecting unjustified charges, and avoiding untrustworthy partners. This page summarizes the kinds of practices I uncover and presents representative examples drawn from my publications.

For Display Advertisers and Display Networks

In work for display advertisers and display networks, I catch and report the following problems:

For Affiliate Advertisers and Affiliate Networks

In work for affiliate advertisers and affiliate networks, I catch and report the following problems:

Information and Incentives in Online Affiliate Marketing analyzes patterns in merchants’ vulnerabilities and effective defenses.

For Advertisers in Comparison Shopping Engines

In work for comparison shopping engines (CSEs) and their advertisers, I catch and report the following problems:

  • Advertisements loaded, and clicks recorded and billed for, without a user seeing the advertisement link or clicking on it. (CSE click fraud)
  • CSE advertisements presented in adware including injections, popups, sliders, and toasts.


I catch infractions using multiple “crawler” PCs which operate 24 hours per day, continuously checking for improper advertising placements. These crawlers run from multiple locations in the US, along with systems to detect behaviors targeting users outside the US. Some of my reports draw on large-scale automation developed in partnership with Wesley Brandi. I supplement automatic observations with manual testing using methods I have refined over more than a decade.

Each of my reports includes a packet log presenting the specific methods and identifiers (ad tags, affiliate IDs, etc.) associated with the infraction. Where an incident includes notable on-screen appearances (e.g. a popup), I typically include a screen-capture video or screenshot image showing occurrences as they appear to users. Each report includes a customized explanatory memorandum.

Please contact me to learn more about my reports.

Last updated: May 21, 2016