Sell-Side: The Negative Effects of Ad Fraud
In 2016, Ratko Vidaković (Founder of AdProfs) wrote a column about “Who Should Be Responsible For Stopping Programmatic Ad Fraud?”. In his column, he concluded in a perfect way the situation:
There are many negative aspects of ad fraud for the sell-side. Most of the time, publishers are at the bottom of the “food chain” when it comes to fraudulent activity. Advertisers and “mediators” will roll down the costs of ad fraud to the publisher side.
One can say that accreditation companies should solve most of the problems around invalid traffic detection and ad fraud by enforcing strict policies both on the sell-side and the buy-side. The reality is that these accreditation companies set a very expensive fee to be able to get access to their processes, and therefore, limit the amount of publishers and other programmatic businesses that can afford this. If the sell-side of programmatic had an industry guideline that allowed them to present their preventive efforts, there would be less fraudulent activities and negative implications.
Publishers, and any other sell-side business, can damage their reputation drastically, whether they are aware of that or not. By choosing to automate their quality checks, they are accepting advertisers and campaigns which might generate profit but push users away.
Malicious Advertising is one example of the negative effect. “Zero Click” campaigns are easy to find and implement on your website. It’s not easy to detect them though.2
Fake Traffic is another negative factor for publishers. Whether they ignore it or support this fraudulent activity, in the long term, they will lose potential budgets and will be exposed to lawsuits and industry sanctions. This makes invalid traffic detection even more important.
Partnering with the wrong SSP can create negative effects as well. Some SSPs prefer to ignore quality checks in order to increase incentives. When SSPs don’t run good on-board quality procedures they basically allow fraudulent activities to run on their platforms. In addition, without the right ad fraud solutions, they cannot detect invalid traffic sources in advance.
In conclusion, there are many negative effects of ad fraud for the sell-side. It’s obvious as fraudulent activity will always be negative for one or more sides. In the past, publishers and SSPs didn’t have the right tools to fight fraudulent activities. They also didn’t have the knowledge about the risks. Today, companies such as Escalated.io provide a tailormade solution for the entire programmatic ecosystem, including publishers and SSPs helping them to eliminate invalid traffic and ad fraud issues from their activity. Escalated.io offers a simple solution that can be adjusted and customized for the tech and business needs of each client. This solution is inexpensive compared to other vendors and focuses on real adaptation of the risk policies unlike some accreditation companies that don’t offer a solution but rather an expensive reputation certification which doesn’t solve the real problem in the long term.
About Yehonatan: Yehonatan has a decade's experience in tackling ad fraud. In 2011, he led the anti-fraud efforts of Matomy Media Group. In 2015 he joined Protected Media, building their customer support team, creating their integration processes, and opening their office in New York. During this time, he worked on nearly all of the various authentication products available. He has worked with Taboola, RevContent, Facebook, SpringSer, Smaato, Escalated.io, and others, and is now one of the leading ad fraud specialists worldwide.12