The 1st meeting in Waterstones
Empello was founded
As a supplier of technology solutions to carriers, John was in a perfect position to contribute his expertise on whether technology could play a role in helping to manage regulatory risk and compliance in the DCB industry. Seeing an opportunity they formed Empello. Work started on the development of Empello's FraudScan portal shortly after to capture non-compliant advertising and alerting industry participants so it could be taken down before causing consumer harm and generating complaints.
1st tender for Vodafone UK
Later that year, Vodafone UK determined that it had a regulatory requirement to monitor the VAS market to ensure there was compliance. Empello won the tender and adapted FraudScan to meet Vodafone’s needs. Digital marketing was not sophisticated and affiliate marketing was in its infancy. Print media was the main source of advertising and SMS services dominated. There were daily visits to the newsagent to buy magazines and papers.
We moved into our 1st Office in Domingo Street
By the end of 2012 Empello graduated from Waterstones to a shared office space. And by the start of 2014 Empello had its first office premises on Domingo Street, in Clerkenwell London. As the advertising moved to digital, and affiliate marketing grew, merchants started to approach us to monitor the market for their digital advertising wanting to catch rogue advertising and address it proactively, rather than react to complaints from Carriers.
Then we were asked to monitor advertising in Australia, which was the start of our rapid international expansion. As we expanded, our model for serving clients matured, with native-speaking compliance analysts in our London HQ for new publisher site discoveries, complex analysis and client liaison; supported by a dedicated team in Asia for follow up monitoring and out-of-hours work; and underpinned by technology to capture simple advertising journeys.
We gain our 1st Merchant client
As Empello grew, we moved to a larger office at Cowper Street in 2016. With Vodafone UK setting the benchmark, soon many mobile operators in other countries wanted their own FraudScan program. To serve these markets, operations were established in UAE and Brazil. Today we make more than 50,000 unique campaign discoveries in over 30 countries every month and have 1300 users on FraudScan.
International expansion starts with Australia
We’ve experienced much success in our FraudScan programmes over the years, resulting in improvements in compliance and reductions in misleading advertising from 40% down to 0% in some cases. Globally we find the average compliance rate is 90%, and in many markets it's above 95%. In some, like the UK, Belgium, and Mexico, we’ve been able to achieve 100% compliance. For every non-compliant ad taken down, that’s consumers safeguarded, carrier brands protected & merchants on a level playing field.
We moved into a bigger office at Cowper St.
By 2018 Empello saw a new type of fraud using technology to click the Subscribe button or masking the button so consumers made inadvertent clicks. Initially mobile operators responded by mandating payment flows with 2 factor authentication, typically OTP / PIN. This was effective initially, but soon rogue app developers figured out how to read the SMS containing the OTP and insert it into the confirmation page. Empello embarked on a development program which resulted in the launch of FraudStop.
Launch of FraudStop
FraudStop script is deployed on the payment page and in milliseconds determines if the click is genuine or not. FraudStop has helped carriers reduce consumer complaints around consent to charge significantly, preventing more than 10 billion fraudulent transactions since launch. FraudScan monitoring is the perfect partner for FraudStop payment page protection. Active market monitoring means we are continually looking for new forms of fraud “in the wild” which is then countered through technology in FraudStop.
FraudStop wins a Cyber Security Award
10 years later we are trusted by 25 carriers around the world and more than 50 merchants and aggregators to protect their brand. We protect more than 1 billion mobile subscribers from fraud in the VAS industry across 4 continents. We’ve come a long way in 10 years, but the story doesn’t end there. There’s still a lot to do to protect the DCB industry. As the growth in mobile commerce continues everyone is predicting growth in Direct Carrier Billing over the coming years.
Expansion of our office
The Empello office has a truly international culture, with a multinational team, speaking 20 languages. In the office the main language is English, but casual conversations in Arabic, French and Spanish are often heard amongst the different teams. As part of our 10 year anniversary celebrations, we will soon be announcing our next office upgrade. It has been a pleasure to work with so many great clients in this challenging and ever changing market. We thank you for your support and look forward to many more challenges over the next decade.
1 Billion Subscribers
We love working here.
We are always looking for enthusiastic collaborators who are passionate about being part of our journey to fighting fraud. Please send us your CV and a covering letter telling us about you and how you would fit into the team.