White Ops sells customers one line of code that allows them to differentiate between bot traffic and the real thing. They compare it to Google's analytics service, and White Ops tells website operators how much of their traffic is coming from humans and how much of it is coming from bots. The start-up bases its charges on website volume: a site that typically generates one billion clicks a month will pay more than a site that generates 1,000 clicks.
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"In the beginning, advertisers were saying, 'We're afraid to do something,' because fraud was generating so much revenue for the display ad industry," Mr. Kaminsky said. "Now the fraud is large enough that they're saying, 'We're afraid not to do something.' "
On Tuesday, White Ops will also begin selling its expertise to businesses beyond advertisers, who have fallen victim to bots in ways other than ad fraud. Businesses, WhiteOps said, increasingly suffer from similar fraud, such as automated attacks on their websites, or criminals who use bots to charge purchases from stolen credit cards across thousands of sites.
—By Nicole Perlroth, The New York Times