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Startup

Botman helps monitor and minimise advertising frauds

Neha Jain
25th May 2018
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Currently, in its beta stage, Botman already counts Lokmat Group, Network18, and voot.com as its clients

At a Glance

Startup: OfferGrid Networks

Founder: Deepankar Biswas and Raja TN

Year it was founded: 2011

Where it is based: Bengaluru

Sector: Digital advertising

The problem it solves: Detect advertisement frauds through its SaaS product

Funding raised: Angel funding (undisclosed)

Companies these days resort to online advertising to generate business. But, is the money spent on these advertisements reaching the right audience? 

There are many instances of advertising fraud, in which the perpetrator fools the advertisers into paying for something that is useless, by creating and redirecting them to fake traffic, fake leads or misrepresented and ineffective ad placement.

To rescue companies from advertising frauds like these, Deepankar Biswas and Raja TN started OfferGrid Networks in 2011. Botman is a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) product for ad fraud detection. 

According to Interactive Advertising Bureau, online advertising fraud costs the industry over $8 billion a year in the US alone, and this amount is only increasing. This also means fake traffic schemes are rotting the internet.

“We had been experiencing a diverse range of traffic, which prompted us to detect these frauds. We felt the best way was to build a platform to monitor and detect them, as we knew where exactly the fraudsters were playing the game. The eureka moment happened when we were able to identify and neutralise sustained fraud traffic from our campaigns,” says Deepankar.

Botman detects bad crawlers, intentionally-hidden or stacked advertisements serving fake and malicious proxies and domains among other things. It also filters user agent headers or unknown browsers and optimises media planning efforts.

Botman is currently in its beta stage and has over ten brands as its customers already. The clientele includes retailers, publishers, over-the-top media service companies, and a few advertising platforms (DSPs). Some of its prominent customers are Lokmat Group, Network18, and voot.com.

How does it work?

Botman works on a monthly subscription basis, and helps in monitoring and sends out reports and data sets. The pricing varies based on the volume of traffic analysed.

“A prospective client can choose to just monitor his web/mobile/app presence, and get the quality reported. This happens directly through the dashboard. In addition, the client can also choose to obtain suspect IPs, user agents, domains, creatives, advertiser URLs, etc. The user can also choose to communicate with his affiliates/traffic sources and advertisers directly from the platform, and update them to correct the quality,” explains Deepankar.

The Offergrid's team

Currently, OfferGrid’s revenue is close to a million dollars. Deepankar says, “Initially, the challenges have been to pivot and find the right product-market fit. We are sustaining the business by focusing on a no-churn policy, where we try our best to make sure an existing customer does not churn out.”

The company has received angel funding and the founders choose not to disclose the amount.

Deepankar has a tech background with over 22 years of work experience across different sectors. He has previously worked with CDoT and Aricent, and became an entrepreneur around 10 years ago. His co-founder Raja has previously worked with Alcatel and Isro, and the duo has been working together for the last 15 years. OfferGrid has a team of 20.

Some of the companies doing similar work globally include Forensiq (US), WhiteOps (Europe), and Pixalate among others.

Talking about its differentiator, Deepankar says: “We have a horizontal focus on advertising quality, traffic quality, and advertiser quality - the three pillars on which a campaign runs. We have a statistical and intuitive approach in classifying human versus non-human traffic, and further sub-classify those using traps. We also offer and encourage customisation for our clients.”

Deepankar explains, “Botman is the first from India in the space of comprehensive ad fraud detection (across desktop, mobile, and tablets). There are a couple of other companies too, but they are more mobile focused.”

Talking about the company's future plans, he says, “We are running the beta version with a few clients outside India right now, and are exploring the best ways to make it compete well in the US, UK and Europe (media spend-wise). We are also looking for partners, resellers, and global sales professionals who can work with us in these markets.”

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