Tag Archives: fraud

The coming controlled burn in online media



For a while it’s been clear than something has needed to change. The sheer amount of garbage inventory in online media has been both increasing and having an increasing amount of light shone upon it. It comes in many forms: outright fraudulent ads, poor creative ads selling for pennies, too many ads on a publisher site with no attention paid to placement or relevance, viewability – or lack thereof, and, in short, just way too much inventory in the market. In 2013, the last year for which I could find numbers, over 5 trillion ads were served worldwide, excluding Google Ad Words. That’s a lot of inventory.

For the industry to reach its next level of maturity and growth, there needs to be a reckoning. The analogy I’ve been using lately is that of a controlled burn and the cycle of fires that permit forests to grow. In order to move on there needs to be large, global effort to cut down on the sheer volume of ads, burn out the deadwood if you will,  and allow new ad formats to flourish, buyers to regain trust in ads, and show consumers that not all online ads are as terrible as the ones driving them in droves to install ad blockers.

Part of this work has recently been done by AppNexus who report some positive news regarding yield on ads once a house has been cleaned. The company claims that claimed that by eliminating bad traffic running through its platform has led to an increase in the price advertisers are willing to pay — a fact that has been in question until now. Earlier this year, a separate initiative from the ad tech platform seeing view through rates rocket by 77 per cent.

AppNexus has claimed this resulted in the average clickthrough rates (CTR) jumping 46 per cent compared to 12 months earlier, with publishers selling inventory via the platform also seeing a 255 per cent jump in average CPMs, according to the report.

So dynamic was the supply-and-demand effect that the average CPM rate hit an all-time high of $1.76 on 29 September (the average for the quarter was $0.64), with average CTR hitting 0.062 per cent, compared to 0.043 per cent 12 months earlier.

In addition, the implementation of AppNexus IQ has also seen the average viewability rate increase 77 per cent compared to 12 months earlier, although the average viewability rates on the platform remained below 50 per cent during the period.

Source: Traffic quality crackdown kicks off record price rise

Online Advertising Fraudsters Turn to ‘Ad-Injection’ Scams

I’m not sure if it’s the Baader-Meinhof Syndrome taking effect now that I’m working with The Media Trust but it sure seems like we’re seeing an increasing number of general media stories about malware and other attacks spread through ad-based vectors. This weekend we had Pagefair, an ad-blocker remover, unwittingly serve as a distributor of malware to over 500 sites and now this story in WSJ.
I fear it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets a lot better and we’ll see some pretty big names dragged through the dirt because of it.

The online ad industry has yet another scam to contend with, and this time it’s publishers bearing the brunt instead of marketers.
The industry is already fighting an ongoing battle against “bots,” computer programs that disguise themselves as real users to defraud advertisers. But now fraud detection companies say there’s a growing threat from “ad injection,” whereby Web users’ browsers are commandeered and ads are stuffed into sites without publishers’ permission.

Source: Online Advertising Fraudsters Turn to ‘Ad-Injection’ Scams

A Start-Up With a Way to Filter Botnet Traffic Gets Funding – NYTimes.com

News that White Hat has revived $7M in funding says a bit more about their press profile and media presence than it does about the ingenuity of their underlying tech. I don’t see anything particularly new or ground breaking here.

Perhaps this piece in nyt (blog) gets the tech wrong, but a solution reliant even partially on flash would appear to fatally flawed. White Hat aren’t the first to offer such a service and others do it without relying on a bloated, outdated, and increasingly blocked technology.

Why all the attention to this company? Why now?

A Start-Up With a Way to Filter Botnet Traffic Gets Funding – NYTimes.com.

How to Fix Ad Fraud and Why Publishers Should Pay | DigitalNext – Advertising Age

Charlie Fiordalis, managing director-digital at Media Storm, makes a pretty blunt case for dropping the bill for fraud prevention on the publisher’s front door. I can sort of his point but his suggestion to publishers to look at it as a form of insurance leaves me a little bit uneasy. I’m not sure it’s as cut and dry a case as he puts forward.

Who pays?Why shouldn’t it be more even-handed across the industry with buyers putting pressure on pricing by not paying as much for blind, non-transparent inventory and paying more, i.e. rewarding, the behaviour they want. There must be a market force from the buy side that can be brought to bear on this issue. Further, I’d think that the lions share of the burden needs to sit with the networks (DSPs and SSPs) to vet the inventory they are managing. They’re the ones that are building billion dollar businesses here and there should be some costs involved in ensuring that what they are brokering is what it appears to be. Finally, the publishers, who it would be hard to say have been the big winners in the online ad revolution, for their part should bear some responsibility for keeping a ‘clean’ site and, in particular with regards to viewability, offer up the most desirable inventory to buyers.

…The buy side has operated with the assumption that we are getting what we have purchased. Ad fraud is a threat to that assumption, and I think the responsibility for direct payment should come from the publishers. There, I said it. Someone had to. I realize this may not be what the publishers want to hear, but they can look at it as a form of insurance on their side. —Charlie Fiordalis

How to Fix Ad Fraud and Why Publishers Should Pay | DigitalNext – Advertising Age.

The Truth About Online Ad Fraud | ExchangeWire.com

All the noise around the RocketFuel and Mercedes-Benz fraud issue may be just that — noise but the problem of online ad fraud, particularly in relation to RTB and programmatic trading, isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Online Fraud
"Decipticons" can spoof your lookalike targeting.

One of the reasons I’m so excited to be working the ridiculously clever team at Pixalate is that they saw this issue coming from a mile away. They were building solutions to help buyers and sellers combat the effects of fraud before all the hype. In a way, they were fraud-fighting hipsters, battling the bots before it was cool.

Jalal Nasir, co-founder and CEO of Pixalate, has a great piece, complete with some very funny terms for the types of Fraud his platform can detect, in this week’s ExchangeWire.

Forecasts suggest ad fraud could cost marketers as much as $11bn in 2014, a 22% increase over 2013. Notwithstanding any unintentional inflation in these stats, it’s clear that ad fraud is running amok. At the same time, RTB display advertising continues to grow quickly. Jalal Nasir, co-founder, Pixalate

The Truth About Online Ad Fraud | ExchangeWire.com.

Get in touch

If you’d like to talk to me about Pixalate, I’m their exclusive representative in Europe. Either drop me an email, grab at Digiday’s EU Publisher Summit in Barcelona.

Bot blindness plagues UK advertisers – Advertising – BizReport

More than three-quarters of UK advertisers have no idea how many of their ad impressions might be fraudulent.

The survey of 268 senior marketing decision makers with UK brands found that 1 in 5 had no process in place to prevent them falling victim to fraud. Yet, those respondents estimated that bot traffic was costing them between £10-£15,000 (US$17-25,000) each year.

via Bot blindness plagues UK advertisers – Advertising – BizReport.