Top Digital Content and Commerce Company Entrusts ShieldSquare to Safeguard Web Content
Future PLC (Purch is acquired by Future PLC) is a digital content and services company that helps make complex buying decisions easy for more than 100 million consumers per month across the globe through its various portals including Tom’s Guide. Future PLC’s portals, with cumulative site traffic of 50 million+ a day, connect in-market shoppers with marketers and sellers, driving $1Billion in commerce transactions annually.
Future PLC prides itself of the rich and diverse content of their site portfolio that consumers seek in a technology space. The diversely qualitative content across their sites is crafted over the years by expert teams that visualize consumer needs and wants. Needless to say, Future PLC specializes in enriched content delivery that is truly one of its kind.
Future PLC’s proprietary content like product reviews, buying guides, etc., were subject to constant threat, given the value they possess. Bots sent by competitors intended to scrape all the content and such a malicious activity disappointed advertisers, as it receded the perceived value of unique website content. Competitors, on the other hand, enjoyed the unjust advantage of curating and reusing the content for their own business purpose.
Adding fuel to the fire was another issue of comment spam, wherein fake comments were posted by bots on renowned technology forums like Anandtech and Tom's guide. These spam comments hindered genuine user experience and distorted the overall value addition. Forums like these help users make better decisions, however, due to the fake comments by bots the quality of discussions started to diminish.
Future PLC’s primary challenge was to detect and mitigate bots that harvest data in a continuous fashion. This was not easy as bots continuously originated from different IP’s and emulated user behavior. After having spent a lot of time in tracking these bots manually, the IT team of Future PLC decided to use a bot prevention solution which would enable them to eliminate bots and focus more on their core business areas.
The first thing that caught Future PLC’s attention in evaluating ShieldSquare solution was the feature of ensuring that genuine users are never impacted. Their IT team especially liked ShieldSquare’s API based approach that provided them the flexibility to integrate into specific sections of the website that are mainly impacted by bots.
ShieldSquare’s cloud API was easily integrated in a non-intrusive manner by Future PLC’s team. Throughout the integration phase, ShieldSquare support team ensured to coordinate with multiple stakeholders across geographies and time zones. The customer support activities were meticulously planned with a dedicated Account manager and a Service Delivery Executive to interface with all the dependent users in a harmonious manner. This enabled ShieldSquare to achieve a quick response, consistent results and add value.
Upon being deeply impressed, Future PLC’s French team of Tom’s Guide shared the below feedback on ShieldSquare Customer support during the rollout:
“It was an absolute pleasure to work with the Support team at ShieldSquare. They were always there to help us during the integration, including on Holidays. Without doubt I can say that the support provided by ShieldSquare is the best that I have come across.”
- Guillaume Boddaert, Senior Application Engineer
ShieldSquare, upon integration in monitor mode, was quickly able to gather insights on the malicious bot signatures and behavior in a matter of hours. Upon running a series of Turing tests, IP tracking, device fingerprinting and other state-of-the-art bot detecting techniques, the pattern and intent of bad bots affecting Future PLC’s sites were clearly unearthed.
Future PLC) IT team, upon analyzing multiple insights from the ShieldSquare dashboard portal decided to challenge bad bots by showing CAPTCHA. ShieldSquare, with the help of big data and leveraging bot intelligence across sites ensured that there are zero false positives. As soon as ShieldSquare turned to active mode, as many as 1.5 million CAPTCHA’s were shown and only 2 of them were solved. The data analysis that followed clearly demonstrated that no genuine user was challenged by CAPTCHA and bots were accurately blocked.
After integrating ShieldSquare across a few of their major portfolio websites during the trial period, Future PLC team has received the following feedback from various internal functions:
- SEO team reported that the Search Engine Crawling rates have improved
- Website Performance team verified that the site response times are not impacted
- Community managers validated that no complaints are received from the end users
Owing to the enthusiastic feedback received, Future PLC) has entrusted ShieldSquare to secure the perimeter of their portfolio of sites and relentlessly thwart bots.
Benefits After ShieldSquare Roll-out
- Future PLC’s unique content is protected from the competitors and other 3rd party scrapers
- The forums and reviews section were shielded against fake reviews submitted by bot programs
- All the bad bots were challenged with CAPTCHA making them ineffective
- Zero False Positives reported
- Improvement in Search Engine Crawling rates
- The IT operations team needn’t block bots manually anymore as ShieldSquare took care of it. They no longer waste time in tracking bot IPs
- Reduction in server infrastructure costs as the bot traffic reduced by a great extent
AT A GLANCE
- Content Scraping and Spam Comments
- Real-time protection from content scraping and spam comments
- Flexible Integration options that enable remediation of bad bots by blocking them before impact
- Unhindered search engine crawling & genuine user experience
“We’re extremely happy with ShieldSquare’s solution that not only takes care of blocking all the bad bots but also provides comprehensive bot analysis. ShieldSquare have really kept their promise of zero false positives, as a result we are able to satisfy our website visitors better than ever!”
Former Chief Technology Officer
Future PLC (Purch is acquired by Future PLC)