Fake News, Fake Traffic

Every major media platform seems to be taking a stand against “fake news” these days, from Facebook to Google and beyond. And with so many people using their news feeds as their primary source of information, it’s easy to see the importance of making sure that the source is trustworthy, quality content.

Content creators need to make sure their news is delivered to a quality audience, too – meaning, humans, not computers! The problem of fake traffic has been around for far longer than “fake news.”

Ad fraud is estimated to reach up to $16.4 billion in losses this year, according to CNBC. There was Methbot, the biggest ad fraud in history, which faked $3-5 million worth of video ad clicks per day with domain spoofing! There’s also URL masking, when advertisers are duped into buying ad placement on the wrong websites and then have their ads appear on untrustworthy domains.

Recently, we saw a huge ad over ad scam make the news, where the same ad space was sold to a huge amount of buyers and one click led to thousands of fake impressions. It doesn’t end there. Bots are probably the best-known of fraud tactics, and they can do anything from creating fake social media accounts, followers, likes, to clicks and views.

Ad injection has struck many well-known brands, from Weather.com to Macy’s and many others. Like its name implies, cybercriminals sell ads on websites without the website owners knowing about it, and while the ads do appear on the websites, the owners don’t get paid for the use of their space. These are just some of the tactics among the many that criminals use to exploit the programmatic nature of advertising today.

There’s a lot to be done, though! Traffic validation, cleaning traffic, and avoiding fraudulent requests are only the beginning. DMG has several technological solutions and great partners in the fight against ad fraud. For example, DMG has a special filtering engine which provides 3% better filtering than any other SSP. Our Forensiq integration allows the evaluation of every request and ensures all our inventory is below 3% IVT.  

DMG has an internal dashboard to show publishers the percentage of invalid traffic per placement, and automatically send Fraud Alerts, allowing publishers to clean traffic within 48 hours or get suspended.

In short, inventory quality levels depend on developing anti-fraud technology, and an unwavering commitment to safety and quality. That goes for tackling both fake news and fake traffic – and it will make the internet better for all of us.


Gil Wilder-Tekuzener is Head of Marketing at DMG

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