Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

The Media Industry Is Blind, Dumb And Dumber: Daylight Robbery - Billions Stolen

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.

Why isn't the media industry screaming mad about this?! Instead it is blind, dumb, and dumber about this issue.

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:

 Forensiq: Tracking The Media Industry's Stolen Billions-SVW

Here's How To Put Billions Back Into The Media Industry Overnight-SVW

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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:

Topic: Ad Fraud

Type
ANA Is Assessing the Extent of Digital Ad Fraud 30 brands join study 
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Thirty members of the Association of National Advertisers are participating in a month-long study to examine just how badly bot fraud is impacting digital campaigns. The ANA has teamed with...

July 14, 2014, 11:59 AM EDT

Facebook Claims Baby-Faced Fraudster Used All The Click TricksMarketing underworld exposed  
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His tabloid name is the Baby-Faced Wolf of Wall Street, and now Facebook wants to paint him as the face of ad fraud. Martin Grunin, a 22-year-old New Yorker, was...

May 23, 2014, 4:35 PM EDT

Fraud Alert: Millions of Video Views Faked in Sophisticated New Bot Scam TubeMogul outs dozens of suspect sites 
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A pernicious and sophisticated new form of online click fraud has been uncovered and it's aimed at digital video advertisers, according to ad software firm TubeMogul. The ad tech agency...

April 8, 2014, 3:27 PM EDT

Google's Spider.io Acquisition Boosts Anti-Fraud Team Looks to clean up video, display ad activity  
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Google boosted its anti-fraud detection team by acquiring anti-malware company spider.io. The announcement was posted on the DoubleClick Advertiser Blog this morning. Google said the acquisition of London-based spider.io's seven-member team...

February 21, 2014, 11:37 AM EST

Bot Problem Keeps Getting Worse More than half of U.S. traffic, per Solve Media  
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You might think that all the attention placed on questionable traffic and bots and online ad fraud this past year would be having a big impact on the digital ad...

December 19, 2013, 12:00 AM EST

Ad Verification Firm Pivots to Bot Detection Integral Science says its can stop fake traffic in real time  
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Suddenly, the anti-bots business is booming. Last week, a company called White Ops announced aggressive plans to target what the company claims are crooks stealing more than $6.5 billion from advertisers....

October 8, 2013, 10:49 AM EDT

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