Distil buys Are You a Human, launches free bot detection plug-in for Google Analytics

The plug-in, which Distil said is the first of its kind, can detect ‘close to 100 percent’ of bots running JavaScript from a web page.

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Bot detection service Distil Networks announced today it has purchased human detection service Are You a Human.

And the San Francisco-based Distil is now launching a free bot detection plug-in for Google Analytics, called Distil Bot Discovery, based in part on Human’s acquired tech. Deal terms were not made public.

The companies said that the new plug-in is the first of its kind for Google Analytics. Distil CEO and co-founder Rami Essaid told me that Analytics’ current bot detection is “terrible,” since it relies on the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s slow-moving list of bots and spiders. Distil estimates that Google’s bot filtering catches less than 1 percent of bot traffic on most sites.

Instead, the Distil plug-in employs Are You a Human’s methods for separating carbon-based life forms from silicon-based imitations, using machine learning to detect biometric patterns in mouse activity and scrolling, as well as looking at browsers, devices and other factors for clues. The plug-in also includes Distil’s machine learning-based analysis of user profiles and behavior, browsers, and other indications.

Essaid told me that the plug-in can detect “close to 100 percent” of any bots that run JavaScript from a web page, which he said is about 65 percent of the bots typically coming to a site. The plug-in only detects the intruders, so site owners still need to rely on services like Distil to counter them.

The plug-in shows which channels, forms and pages are hit the hardest by bots and can filter out bot actions in A/B testing.

To employ the plug-in, the site owner installs some JavaScript in the site’s page header, and then the bot activity is made available in the Analytics dashboard:

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Distil also offers an annual report on bots. Based in San Francisco, with offices in several other cities, the company will add Human’s Detroit headquarters as another office. Human’s tech and brand will become part of Distil’s.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About the author

Barry Levine
Barry Levine covers marketing technology for Third Door Media. Previously, he covered this space as a Senior Writer for VentureBeat, and he has written about these and other tech subjects for such publications as CMSWire and NewsFactor. He founded and led the web site/unit at PBS station Thirteen/WNET; worked as an online Senior Producer/writer for Viacom; created a successful interactive game, PLAY IT BY EAR: The First CD Game; founded and led an independent film showcase, CENTER SCREEN, based at Harvard and M.I.T.; and served over five years as a consultant to the M.I.T. Media Lab. You can find him at LinkedIn, and on Twitter at xBarryLevine.

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