Ad fraud bot network was mimicking human behavior​ on android apps

According to Appsflyer, ad fraud affecting apps is estimated to be more than 800 million USD per quarter, around 10% of the marketing spend to drive app installs. BuzzFeed News just discovered this month an ad fraud network mainly affecting android apps.

The apps and websites were mainly games, utilities, and gossip news. Some of them already do not exist in the Google Play Store. Here the list provided by Buzzfeed:

  • 24gossip.net
  • 24sportsnews.tv
  • Arrow Shooter
  • Basketball Throw
  • BitX Cast Player Pro
  • BitX Torrent Video Player
  • BlinkVPN
  • Bottle Escape
  • Bottle Roulette
  • Business Inc
  • Call Analytics: Detailed Call Logger + SMS History
  • Call Blocker
  • Carry Over The Hill
  • Carry Over The Hill – Space
  • Cars Jigsaw Puzzle Game
  • Cat Rescue Pro
  • Cat Rescue Puzzle
  • celebnow.net
  • celebnow.tv
  • celebritydaily.tv
  • celebritytrends.tv
  • Copter Escape Free
  • Crazy Frog Multiplayer Game
  • Crossword Solver
  • Crosswords Solver Pro
  • crusty.tv
  • dailydally.tv
  • Dots and Boxes
  • Draw
  • Draw In Landscape
  • Drift Horizon Online
  • Dropwords
  • Dropwords Pro
  • Duel Deck
  • Emoji Switcher
  • EverythingMe
  • Expense Manager
  • Fast & Slow Motion Video Tool
  • Fit It Puzzles
  • FlashLight F.Light
  • Fu Torrent Pro
  • FuTorrent
  • Ghost Detector
  • Gluten Free Food Finder
  • Gluten Free Food Finder Pro
  • gossipnewsdaily.com
  • Grumpy Jumpy Cat
  • Grumpy Weather Widget
  • Guess the Game Icon Quiz
  • Guess the Game Quiz – Picture Puzzle Trivia
  • Guess the Restaurant Quiz – Logo Trivia Game
  • healthtube.info
  • Hide image, video of whatsapp
  • hollywoodstories.fun
  • hollywoodstory.tv
  • Iconic – Guess Character Quiz – Pics Trivia Game
  • inside-sports.tv
  • Kids Truth and Dare
  • Lazy Alarm
  • Learn Animals – Puzzle Game
  • Learn Colors – Surprise Eggs
  • Make Money – Earn Cash
  • MegaCast
  • mentol.tv
  • Minesweeper Classic (mines)
  • Minesweeper Professional
  • Mout
  • Muscle Drift Simulator 2018
  • Muscle Drift Simulator 2018 Pro
  • newsvid.net
  • Photo Editor – Pencil Sketch
  • Pixel Icon Pack 2
  • Plumber 10k
  • Plumber Mania
  • Pop Face
  • Princesses & Heroes – Puzzle
  • prominow.de
  • Puzzle – Kids Game
  • Restaurant Finder
  • Restaurant Finder Pro
  • Samurai Jump FREE
  • scandalcity.tv
  • Self Help Books
  • Selfie Expert Plus/Pro
  • Slow Motion Apps
  • Slow Motion Video
  • Slow Motion Video 2.0
  • Slow Motion Video Pro
  • Smart Riddles
  • Smart Voice Assistant
  • Split Pic 2.0
  • sportdelight.com
  • sportdynamite.net
  • sporthassle.tv
  • sportinsider.tv
  • sportnewsdaily.net
  • sportobserver.tv
  • Sports Balls Crash
  • sportstories.fun
  • steep.tv
  • steeptv.fr
  • Superheroes Wallpaper HD
  • Surpise Eggs For Kids
  • Surpise Eggs Vending Machine
  • Surprise Eggs – Girls
  • Surprise Eggs – Kids Game
  • Surprise Eggs Bulk Machine
  • Surprise Eggs Factory
  • Surprise Eggs for Girls
  • Surprise Eggs Gumball Machine
  • Surprise Eggs Vending Machine
  • Teen Truth or Dare
  • thetop.tv
  • topcelebrity.tv
  • topgossipstories.tv
  • topstories.fun
  • Track My Shows
  • Traffic Hour
  • tvstar.fr
  • Twist Your Fingers
  • Uniform Regulation AR670-1
  • variance.tv
  • vipwire.tv
  • Visor
  • webarena.tv
  • Wheel of Surprise Eggs
  • Word Search Free
  • Word Search Movies

How the ad fraud happened without being detected?

According to Buzzfeed, the fraudsters acquired legitimate apps through a company called We Purchase Apps. After the fraudsters capture the behavior of the app’s human users and program network of bots to mimic it.

Impact under 10 million dollars on advertisers using Google

Google says internal systems had previously caught and blocked violating websites from Google’s ad network. Apps, however, were not blocked.

This month Google has removed the apps involved in the ad fraud scheme so they can no longer monetize with Google. Further, Google blacklisted additional apps and websites that are outside of the ad network, to ensure that advertisers using Display & Video 360 (formerly known as DoubleClick Bid Manager) do not buy any of this traffic.


Recommended: Google Ads discontinued adsenseformobileapps.com. Advertisers are not able to exclude apps from their campaigns on Google Ads. Only on DV360 advertisers are able to exclude apps.


Google was the only ad tech company sharing how was affected by this ad fraud network.

Google estimates that the dollar value of impacted Google advertiser spend across the apps and websites involved in the operation is under $10 million.

According to Google, the majority of impacted advertiser spend was from invalid traffic on inventory from non-Google, third-party ad networks.