The enterpreneurs behind the leading blog (blogter.hu) and microblog (mommo.hu) service in Hungary invited the Dots Amazing team to a restricted tendering. Our successful entry opened the way to build the foundations of a new business division: the bidding based social media adserver featuring detailed targeting and keyword matching, a powerful tool to monetize the ad space of the blog service provider and their clients using a central application server. The Blogter staff does this on a professional level: they've established the Mommo Sales House featuring some of the most acknowledged experts in online marketing.
The system is able to serve unlimited number of social platforms or web sites from a single location - this way the sales house relies on a centralized, unfragmented administration instead of separate data sources and applications.
Unlike similar adserver systems AdSocial is able to serve not only text, but image, Flash and HTML ads too. Ads are organized in campaigns having daily and total budget, though these attributes can also be overridden even on the ad level. Both campaigns and banners can be targeted by keywords and also attributes common on social media platforms (like gender,age, interests, location, etc.), this way it provides the most effective reach for the advertisers.
From viewpoint of the content providers - like social media portals having ad space to sell - the AdSocial system is accessible through an API (application programming interface), through which AdSocial and the content provider can automatically work together to choose the ads determined to be the most relevant to the visitor.
This project is unusual in many ways compared to the usual development projects, which also made it outstanding: not only the planned launch in 5 countries and high availability were compelling tasks but we also had to answer the problems on click fraud which is a common issue in bidding ad serving. In such systems the charges are paid per ad clicks: that's why competitors of an advertiser may try to click on the ads of the advertisers, which leads to less effective campaigns and unduly raising charges.
Because of these reasons we took the challenge seriously and built a complex security subsytem in the adserver. Though the problems described above are common and well known both for service providers and ad space owners - so much so that in Google AdWords each suspicious click is examined by a highly trained team -, the information available on the possible solutions are very close mouthed, since revealing this information could also help attackers too.
And at last let's see some details of the technology: for the best performance the adserver was deployed on a LightTPD server and also incorporates memcached caching. Thanks to the preliminary planning the separate system components and clustering allows practically unlimited scaling. The system also includes several background processes being responsible for processing the data of statistical analysis and the financial subsytem.