Posted by Tom Foremski - July 19, 2014
The media industry, including digital media companies, is breathtakingly silent on the issue of advertising fraud.
What other industry would sit quietly while being robbed in broad daylight on such a massive scale? As huge as $6 billion to an astounding $16 billion a year is being siphoned away from the media industry through fraudulent advertising methods.
The media industry needs to band together to stop ad fraud today. It should insist that its advertisers, the big brands, sign a pledge not to support ad fraud and only advertise on real media sites.
It's in the advertisers' interests to support a healthy independent media sector staffed by professionals producing quality content on which their ads will perform fabulously. It's a virtuous circle that keeps producing professional quality media.
But what we have instead, is a race to the bottom as quality of media goes down on falling ad revenues and advertising performance plunges.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the billions lost to ad fraud are stolen from the advertisers. This is not true, it is the media industry that would get this money.
Advertising agencies and other media buyers, have ad budgets they spend. Their revenues haven't been affected but the media industry is struggling tremendously. It is clear that more than $10 billion a year could be returned to the struggling media industry virtually overnight if simple measures are taken.
The incentive to shut down advertising fraud will not come from the brands, ad agencies or other ad buyers -- it has to come from the media industry itself.
The ad buyers are complicit in paying for fraudulent traffic to make themselves look better, to make their campaigns look better, they know exactly what they are doing, and the result is that society has to contend with a severely damaged fourth estate.
Stop the Ad Fraud. We need a strong and independent media industry.
Here is some of my recent coverage of this issue:
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The Great Train Robbery was the largest cash haul from a robbery in the UK. Huge amounts of cash were streaming up and down the country on fast mail trains. In 1963 a group of 16 men diverted one of the trains and made off with the equivalent, in today's money, of $40 million.
Ad fraud cashes in on the large amounts of payments from media ad streams and diverts the cash through fake sites and bogus traffic. Most of the Great Train robbers were caught and put in prison with the leaders getting 30 year sentences. No one is prosecuted for billions in ad fraud.
Here is some Ad Age coverage:Tweet this story Follow @tomforemski