ShieldSquare named a Leader in The Forrester New Wave™: Bot Management Report, Q3 2018. Click to know more.

ShieldSquare named a Leader in The Forrester New Wave™: Bot Management Report, Q3 2018. Click to know more.

Europe’s Leading Online Classifieds Portal Reduces Spam Leads by 99.99% & Improves Revenue Potential Using ShieldSquare

Europe's leading online classifieds portal helps people find, buy and sell goods and chattels. With more than 2 million unique merchandise, it was crucial for the portal to safeguard their listings. Competitors and 3rd party scrapers were frequently scraping the content.The brand was losing exclusiveness of the website. Spam form entries by bots increased operational costs and was a major problem for the portal’s team.

Business Problem

For a leading online classifieds portal with significant daily traffic, advertisers usually are very keen to place relevant ads on the website. The portal, in turn, seeks to satisfy its advertiser base by generating quality leads. An adequate volume of quality leads encourages more advertisers to place ads and thereby contributes to improving the revenue.

The downside of this popularity is that the portal was facing constant threats from 3rd party scrapers and competitors who were extracting valuable content. In addition to scraping the content, bots were creating a lot of spam or fake leads. Typically, for any listing on a classifieds portal, the contact details of the advertiser, such as an email address and phone number, can only be known by submitting a form. Bots were deployed to submit forms and scrape contact details. Bot activity on the portal was hurting the quality of leads for advertisers. For an online classified portal, this meant every lead had to be individually scrutinized to ensure it was delivering value to the advertisers. Spam leads also reduced operational efficiency.

The technology and operation teams spent a lot of effort in filtering the good leads from the fake ones. This manual effort was dragging down overall productivity and diverting resources away from other business areas. The lead conversion metrics and ROI for the advertisers on the website were gradually decreasing.

The portal’s web server detected high amounts of suspicious non-human traffic based on standard patterns and trends. The disproportionate number of spam leads indicated that website was a target of automated attacks. IP reputation feeds, rate limits and other defensive measures were not working out because attackers continuously changed their approach. After recognizing the source of spam leads and content scraping, technology and security team began to look for a bot management solution with high accuracy and least false positives.

ShieldSquare Solution

The security team of the portal had done extensive research and evaluated several other solutions to combat the growing menace. ShieldSquare was shortlisted, and was quickly deployed with the intent to stop the damage caused by bad bots. Senior management demanded that genuine user experience and search engine crawling rates should not get affected. ShieldSquare’s results on Zero False Positives and an easy-to-integrate cloud API gave the team exactly what they required to eliminate the attacks with minimal burden on their technology teams.

Our support team ensured timely coordination with multiple stakeholders at all times and integration was impressively quick. After integrating our cloud connectors, infrastructure team reported that they could observe better availability of their site and now had full control over the website.

Using dynamic turing tests and device fingerprinting technologies our solution accurately detected and categorized the malicious bot patterns. In a month’s time, the portal began to receive positive and encouraging feedback from their advertisers about the improved quality of leads.

ShieldSquare provided the flexibility to block scraper bots based on unique signatures, and this ensured the exclusive listings on the portal. The approach further amplified the SEO efforts. Importantly, the data shared by the portal’s technology team showed that none of the website’s real users were blocked in this process.

The impact that ShieldSquare made on the overall revenue potential and on managing the bot risks has surpassed the expectations of the senior management. The classifieds portal also benefits on an ongoing basis from bot intelligence (collected and correlated across all our deployments) and consultation provided by our data science experts.

Benefits After ShieldSquare Roll-Out

  1. 99.99% reduction in spam leads post-integration.
  2. Improved quality of leads encouraged advertisers to place 16% more ads.
  3. Saved efforts spent in detecting bad traffic. Reduced workload on IT and infrastructure teams.
  4. Secured content and restored the competitive edge. Brought down the traffic of content scraper bots on the website to Zero.

AT A GLANCE

Customer:   Major European Online Classifieds Portal
Industry:   Classified Advertising
Problem faced:
  • Fake leads caused undue burden on operations team
  • Content scraping by competitors was reducing the popularity of website
Why ShieldSquare?
  • Real-time protection from fake leads and content scraping
  • End-to-End managed service. Zero intervention from customers’ teams
  • High accuracy & Zero false positives
  • Rapid integration options for the diverse tech infrastructure

“After careful consideration, we chose ShieldSquare because their bot detection solution is the most accurate and powerful service on the market. We love it!”



IT Manager
Major European Online Classifieds Portal

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