Tidal Wave of Fake Advertising



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ORIGINAL POST

POSTED BY Ed (7 mths ago)
The tidal wave of fake news spreading across the web has brought mounting pressure on Google and Facebook to face up to their responsibilities as platforms for false information. But now the two web giants are under pressure over another kind of fakery - fake advertising.


On this week's Tech Tent we hear about the advertising industry's mounting anger over a problem that is damaging its credibility with its clients. When advertising began to move online, there was the promise of much better targeting and much more accurate measurement of how well a marketing message performed.


Instead all sorts of issues, from bots that generate phony views of ads to the placing of advertisements next to unsuitable content, have shaken confidence in the industry.
A media industry conference in London this week heard a prediction that out of $80bn (£65bn) of digital ad spending in 2017, over $16bn would be eaten up by fraud.
Johnny Hornby, founder of a media agency called The&Partnership, tells Tech Tent that the time has come for a radical response.


He says a tool called pre-bid verification, which checks sites to make sure they are not fraudulent and allows agencies to make sure they are not placing ads where they will generate phony clicks, has been shown to wipe out most fraud.


But he says both Google and Facebook have refused to let this software on their platforms. Hornby is calling for the industry to unite and threaten a boycott if the two web giants, which account for two-thirds of online advertising, don't shape up.


Read More: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-39309088


http://blog.frenstreet.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Fake-Clicks-Fake-Users.jpg

COMMENTS

Ed (7 mths ago)
The Guardian Changing Media Summit – taking on fake news, ad fraud and filter bubbles

With a breakdown in trust between news organisations and the public, and the threat posed to traditional media by Facebook and Google, the Guardian Changing Media Summit was the place to discover how the industry is adapting

The issue of digital advertising fraud was a hot topic. There was a heated debate about digital ads being placed on unsuitable websites. A recent newspaper investigation found that automated systems were placing ads from leading brands on inappropriate sites, such as those promoting violent jihadism.

“A lot of brands are appearing in a lot of bad places,” Johnny Hornby, founder of agency The&Partnership told a session on ad fraud. He highlighted research from his agency and fraud detection specialist Adloox showing that digital advertising is predicted to hit $80bn (£65bn) globally this year, of which $16bn could be fraudulent. For instance, online users are fraudulently redirected to fake websites, which take payment for advertising viewed.

Hornby advised brands to use verification software to identify where their ads appear online. He felt much of the blame for the problems lies with Google and Facebook, which control the lion’s share of online advertising. He called for a strike by advertisers if the problem is not resolved:


“The industry needs to get together, clients and agencies, and we need to do something. If Google and Facebook – which will be 60% or 70% of that $80bn – won’t do something about this, we are going to do something, which is we aren’t going to advertise with you for a quarter or a month.”

More https://www.theguardian.com/media/2017/mar/20/the-guardian-changing-media-summit-taking-on-fake-news-ad-and-filter-bubbles

Ed (7 mths ago)
This Man's $600,000 Facebook Disaster Is A Warning For All Small Businesses

It continues to amaze me how people are completely ignoring what appears to be an incredible amount of shadiness inherent in Facebook’s business model. Whether or not this is intentional click fraud, it is clear that advertisers are not getting what they think they are getting. They won’t be fooled forever, and once they wake up to the money being wasted on fake “likes” and “clicks,” I’m curious to see what happens to their revenue.

The following article from SF Gate is a perfect followup to my post from a couple weeks ago: How Much of Facebook’s Ad Revenue is From Click Fraud?

Perhaps the most shocking passage from the entire article is the following:

Naturally, Brar began disputing his bill with Facebook. He wanted his clicks audited by a third party, to see how many were genuine. Then he discovered that Facebook’s terms of service forbid third-party verification of its clicks. That’s something all advertisers should be aware of before they spend a penny on Facebook.

Facebook is different from the rest of the online ad industry, which follows a standard of allowing click audits by third parties like the IAB, the Media Ratings Council or Ernst & Young.

Um, ok then…

Now more from the SF Gate:

Raaj Kapur Brar runs a small but successful empire of online fashion magazines from his base just outside Toronto. Some of his titles are huge online brands, such as Fashion & Style Magazine, which has 1.6 million Facebook fans.

That’s more fans than Elle magazine has.

Recently, however, Brar has fallen out of love with Facebook. He discovered — as Business Insider reported recently — that his Facebook fanbase was becoming polluted with thousands of fake likes from bogus accounts. He can no longer tell the difference between his real fans and the fake ones. Many appear fake because the users have so few friends, are based in developing countries, or have generic profile pictures.

At one point, he had a budget of more than $600,000 for Facebook ad campaigns, he tells us. Now he believes those ads were a waste of time.

Facebook declined multiple requests for comment on this story.

Brar’s take is a cautionary one because Facebook has 25 million small businesses using its platform for one marketing purpose or another. Many of them are not sophisticated advertisers — they are simply plugging a credit card number into the system and hoping for the best. This is what can happen if you don’t pay careful attention to contract language, or the live, real-time results your campaigns on Facebook are having.

Here’s how Brar believes it went down: He became interested in advertising on Facebook in 2012, and he took it seriously. He went to Facebook’s local Toronto office where he was trained to use the advertising interface. They set up the campaign, and ran a small “beta” test. Then, in late October Brar pulled the trigger on a massive push through Facebook’s Ads Manager. He used Bitly and Google Analytics to measure the number of clicks his campaign was generating.

The results were disastrous, Brar says.

Facebook’s analytics said the campaign sent him five times the number of clicks he was seeing arrive on his sites, which Brar was monitoring with Bitly, Google Analytics, and his own web site’s WordPress dashboard. There was a reasonable discrepancy between the Bitly and Google numbers, Brar says, but not the five-fold margin between Google’s and Facebook’s click counts.

At one point, data from Facebook indicated his ads had delivered 606,000 clicks, but the site itself registered only 160,000 incoming clicks from Facebook, according to data supplied by Brar. (160,000 clicks is a not insignificant return. After all, these are not clicks on a mere Facebook page, these are users who clicked through to an off-Facebook site.)

“I don’t know what to say, right? This is a huge loss. This ran for four days, then we just stopped the campaign,” Brar says.

Then, things got worse. Even though Fetopolis wasn’t advertising, the likes and new followers kept on piling up. Normally, an advertiser would be pleased at such a result, but every time Brar checked a sample of the new fans he found people with dubious names; a picture of a flower as a profile shot; and fewer than 10 friends — classic signs of a fake profile.

Naturally, Brar began disputing his bill with Facebook. He wanted his clicks audited by a third party, to see how many were genuine. Then he discovered that Facebook’s terms of service forbid third-party verification of its clicks. That’s something all advertisers should be aware of before they spend a penny on Facebook: Facebook has operated this way for a long time, and has a page for advertisers explaining in more depth why third-party click reporting may not match Facebook’s click counts.


Essentially, Facebook suggests, if clicks are not measured in exactly the same way over the same time intervals then there will always be discrepancies.

Facebook is different from the rest of the online ad industry, which follows a standard of allowing click audits by third parties like the IAB, the Media Ratings Council or Ernst & Young.

This will all be exposed by the market sooner or later. I’m just shocked it is taking so long for people to put two and two together.

Full article here http://www.sfgate.com/technology/businessinsider/article/This-Man-s-600-000-Facebook-Disaster-Is-A-5258472.php?t=7c5e3ab580

Ed (7 mths ago)
The big risk for Google and Facebook is that this week's headlines will embolden advertisers to take a second look at whether their digital ad budgets are as effective as they think.

They might not like what they find.Marketing firm Adobe said this week that the costs of digital advertising were growing more quickly than the cost of TV ads and that the growth in spending on web search ads wasn't resulting in a commensurate increase in visits to the advertisers' websites.

That echoes the disillusionment expressed by an executive at Procter & Gamble -- the world's biggest buyer of advertisements --who said big companies weren't seeing fast enough sales growth to justify the $500 billion spent annually on ads.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-03-17/u-k-pulls-ads-from-youtube-citing-failures-in-policing-content



Pay Per Click advertising is filled with conflicts of interest.... at AX we do not sell advertising on a Pay Per Click basis....

archcherub (7 mths ago)
now youtube is facing big pressure because of ads showing up on hate websites.

I am happy that big advertisers are pulling out ads.
pls do not let haters earn money by promoting hatred...

Ed (7 mths ago)
Facebook Click Fraud 101

Our posts earlier this week about the alarming amount of click fraud at Facebook left more than a few unanswered questions. The problem is real and was confirmed by Facebook. But what wasn’t clear is exactly how or why it was happening. Now, after we’ve interviewed a number of advertisers and fraudsters, we know exactly how and why they are doing it:

https://techcrunch.com/2009/06/26/facebook-click-fraud-101/

Ed (7 mths ago)
This Man’s $600,000 Facebook Disaster is a Warning For All Small Businesses

It continues to amaze me how people are completely ignoring what appears to be an incredible amount of shadiness inherent in Facebook’s business model. Whether or not this is intentional click fraud, it is clear that advertisers are not getting what they think they are getting. They won’t be fooled forever, and once they wake up to the money being wasted on fake “likes” and “clicks,” I’m curious to see what happens to their revenue.

The following article from SF Gate is a perfect followup to my post from a couple weeks ago: How Much of Facebook’s Ad Revenue is From Click Fraud?

Perhaps the most shocking passage from the entire article is the following:

Naturally, Brar began disputing his bill with Facebook. He wanted his clicks audited by a third party, to see how many were genuine. Then he discovered that Facebook’s terms of service forbid third-party verification of its clicks. That’s something all advertisers should be aware of before they spend a penny on Facebook.

Facebook is different from the rest of the online ad industry, which follows a standard of allowing click audits by third parties like the IAB, the Media Ratings Council or Ernst & Young.

Um, ok then…

Now more from the SF Gate:

https://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2014/02/25/this-mans-600000-facebook-disaster-is-a-warning-for-all-small-businesses/

Ed (7 mths ago)
http://blog.frenstreet.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Fake-Clicks-Fake-Users.jpg

Ed (57 days ago)
Google To Refund "Fake Traffic" Advertising Revenue

In a tacit admission that it remains riddled with ad fraud, the WSJ reports that Google is issuing refunds to advertisers for ads bought through its platform that ran on sites with fake traffic as the company hopes to develop tools to give buyers more transparency about their purchases.

One month ago, consumer products giant Procter & Gamble - one of the largest and most sophisticated advertisers in the world - launched a mini crisis in the online advertising space, when the company announced that it was scaling back its online advertising spend, stating that "digital ad spending was lower versus a high base period and due to current period choices to temporarily restrict spending in digital forums where our ads were not being placed according to our standards and specifications."

The implications to this admission that online advertising was either being gamed by bots, or generally underperforming were significant, as it jeopardized the future revenue streams of two of the biggest companies in the world, Alphabet (aka Google) and Facebook, both almost entirely reliant on online advertising. How long before other anchor names decided to similarly cut back on their online ad spending?

So, one month later, in its first tacit admission that its ad network has few protections against "fake traffic" such as ever more sophisticated ad bots - and that P&G's criticism was spot on - the WSJ reports that Google will issue refunds to advertisers for ads bought through its platform that ran on sites with fake traffic "as the company develops a tool to give buyers more transparency about their purchases."

Hoping to avoid further spending cuts and outright contract losses - especially to arch rival Facebook, which has similarly admitted to having ad exposure problems on numerous occasions - in the past few weeks Google has informed hundreds of marketers and ad agency partners about the issue with invalid traffic, also known “ad fraud.” According to the WSJ, the ads were bought using the company’s DoubleClick Bid Manager.



While in the past advertisers have received small credits from Google when they detect discrepancies, in this case, for some buyers, the fraud was larger than usual.

However, since Google’s "increased" refund still amounts to only a small fraction of the total ad spending served to invalid traffic, some advertisers remain unsatisfied: "Google has offered to repay its “platform fee,” which ad buyers said typically ranges from about 7% to 10% of the total ad buy."

More http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-08-25/google-refund-fake-traffic-advertising-revenue

Ed (57 days ago)
Typically, advertisers use DoubleClick Bid Manager to target audiences across vast numbers of websites in seconds by connecting to dozens of online ad exchanges, marketplaces that connect buyers and publishers through real-time auctions.

The ad spending flows through to the exchanges. The problems arise when ads run on publisher sites with fraudulent traffic, such as those where clicks are generated by software programs known as “bots” instead of humans. This is an issue of growing to concern to marketers. It is difficult to recoup the money paid to those sites when the issue is discovered too late.

Ed (57 days ago)
Of the billions of dollars flowing into online advertising each year, a percentage is inadvertently shown to sites with fake traffic, with fraudsters siphoning off advertisers’ money for themselves. And while the individual instances of ad fraud tend to be modest in amount, combined they add up quickly: some $6.5 billion in ad spending will be wasted this year to fraud, according to a report released in May by the Association of National Advertisers.

Unlike infamous clickfarms, typically found in some shady warehouse in India or Bangladesh, the methods used by fraudsters are highly sophisticated. Some infect unsuspecting consumers’ computers with malware to form a “botnet” that clicks on ads in the background.

And while ad fraud has long been a well-known, if unresolved, problem associated with online advertising, what makes Google's admission unique is that for years the company had claimed to have it largely under control.

The search giant has had teams dedicated to filtering out fraud before an advertiser makes a bid on an ad. Those teams can also prevent exchanges from being paid if an ad has already been bid on, but invalid traffic is quickly detected. The teams also work to discover historical instances of fraud, which is what happened in this particular case.

In other words, Google confirms that a substantial chunk of revenue that it, and others like it, pocketed over the years was never actually earned. It also may explain the recent shift in the mood of online advertisers, such as P&G, which failing to generate the desired IRR, decided to cut back on advertising altogether.


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