Google and Yahoo strengthen security on ads in click fraud crackdown

Andrew Sadauskas /

Google and Yahoo are both introducing encrypted HTTPS connections for their ad networks in a move the companies claim will reduce bot traffic and other types of ad fraud.

Use of HTTPS for web ads was recently advocated by industry group the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), which stated that website owners that support HTTPS need to be able to ensure their ad service also supports encryption.

In a statement Yahoo’s vice president of revenue management and ad policy, James Deaker, described the move as “perhaps the largest-ever transition to SSL encryption for any publisher with display ads”, and says it will also have important benefits for advertisers.

“Strengthening online security helps the advertising industry address the issues such as bot traffic and other types of ad fraud, which allow for more precise audience reach and campaign measurement,” Deaker said.

Separately, Google announced the vast majority of mobile, video, and desktop display ads on its Google Display Network, AdMob, and DoubleClick networks will be encrypted by June 30, while all of its YouTube ads are already encrypted and have been since the end of last year.

Google switched to HTTPS-only connections for Gmail in March 2014, following revelations by intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden of mass-surveillance programs by the US National Security Agency, and also provides higher search rankings for websites that use HTTPs.

Andrew Sadauskas

Andrew Sadauskas is a former journalist at SmartCompany and a former editor of TechCompany.