e-DNA Secures EU Funding
Helping online travel agents detect malicious bots
The online travel industry is booming. Booking flights through the internet has become the norm, facilitated by countless online travel agents. To compete in the market, they use bots. These are web robots that can steal competitors’ pricing data in real-time and automatically lower the prices on their website. The EU-funded e-DNA BotStop project proposes an innovative, efficient solution: eDNA – a script that detects malicious bots. It will increase efficiency for airline companies and eliminate many disturbances in sales of airline tickets or unexpected cancellations of transactions and other events that are stressful to consumers.
In the last decade there has been an explosion in Online Travel Agents (OTAs) worldwide. OTAs undertake the mammoth task of undercutting the flight prices of major airlines through the use of Bots (an internet Bot, also known as web robot, WWW robot or simply bot, is a software application that runs automated tasks (scripts) over the Internet.). Bots are used to scrape airlines for valuable data to benchmark aggregate flight costs, which drives down prices for the consumer.
Whilst beneficial to consumers, scraping harms travel companies because:
• Bots can engage with a websites’ server hardware and cause website traffic to run slower, in some cases causing server downtime and Direct Denial of Service (DDoS)
• Long term Search Engine Optimization (SEO) damage; distorting analytical marketing metrics.
• Diverting customers to purchase products via third party resellers, limiting chances for up-sell and cross sell opportunities.
This problem is tackled by anti-scrape approaches. However, current anti-scrape/booking bot solutions are only capable of distinguishing between human traffic and bot traffic through supervised algorithms that do not work to the degree of efficacy required.
Full Funding Profile: https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/854460