The-Truth-About-Fraud-In-Digital-Advertising-InfographicAdvertising Fraud activities has increased massively in every industry, involving organized crime, Russian millionaires, ex-bank robbers and one-sixth of the computers in the U.S. Can you believe $6 billion is being stolen from advertisers!  Major source of these Frauds is user traffic on websites classified as copyright infringement. The ad impressions from this traffic are ‘laundered’ through a complex series of redirects that make the ads appear as though they originated on legitimate sites containing advertiser-friendly content. Additionally the fraudulent ads use code hiding the ad creative from being displayed in the user’s browser; as a result advertisers pay for impressions that are never seen.


Fraud on a Massive Scale

Data scientists analyzed over 1,000 advertiser campaigns delivering more than 10 billion impressions on 3 million plus websites in a recent 30-day period to reveal the following results:

  • Over 1,200 websites in copyright infringement categories were laundering ad impressions through a set of seemingly legitimate sites with advertiser-friendly content.
  • 0% of all Network/RTB-purchased impressions were delivered via sites participating in this fraudulent activity.
  • 1% of Publisher-purchased impressions were delivered via sites participating in this fraudulent activity.

Impact on Industry:

  1. Online advertising ecosystem on the buy side: here advertisers lose millions of dollars on impressions that are never delivered to an end user.
  2. Many types of Fraud, can funnel ad dollars to parties who use it to fund activities that advertisers are actively combating.
  3. Fighting online ad Fraud complicates the media planning and delivery process. It costs advertisers time and money both to identify Fraud and to eliminate its impact from their analysis and media plans. Repurposing the money that is wasted on fraudulent ads and the operational cost to combat it could have a significant benefit to the performance realized by the buy side.
  4. Fraud also significantly harms sellers and the overall economics of the ad market. Every media dollar wasted on fraudulent impressions directly impacts the revenue earned by legitimate sellers that have unsold or under-monetized inventory.

For these reasons, online ad Fraud damages the very credibility of the ecosystem in which we all are participants and beneficiaries.

Combating Fraud isn’t a problem to be solved exclusively by the buyers or by the sell side alone. Instead, all parties: buyers, sellers, intermediaries, measurement and verification companies have a responsibility to fight Fraud so that we can construct a safe industry that benefits all of its participants.

Hidden Ads and Impression Laundering Working Together


Few examples that will highlight the alarming effect of online Fraud in various Industry:

  • Online Ad Fraudsters are stealing $6 Billion from Brands: It involves organized crime, Russian millionaires, ex-bank robbers and one-sixth of the computers in the U.S. Those are just some of the explosive charges being levelled by , a White Ops Web security firm born of experts from the bank fraud and Internet securities industry—i.e., the best of the best hacker fighters in the country.
  • Bot Problem Keeps Getting Worse, More than half of U.S. Traffic: Bot Traffic Market Advisory, 51 percent of all Web traffic in the U.S. was fraudulent in Q3—up 8 percentage points versus Q2. That’s the first time those numbers exceed 50 percent.
  • Millions of Video Views Faked in Sophisticated New Bot Scam: A pernicious sophisticated new form of online click fraud has been uncovered and it’s aimed at digital advertisers.

Various technologies to protect online Fraud

  • AdSafe Brand Safety: Monitor and flag inappropriate and unsafe video content for various categories. Page content correlates with video content at a 95% accuracy level.
  • Contextual Relevance: providing clients with contextual analysis around the type of content on which their ads appear (e.g. % of impressions in Sports category)
  • Geo Location: leading geographic IP verification vendors to determine the geographic location of an end user viewing an ad.

Pmi5 Media is at beta testing stage for protecting their valued customers from this Fraud activity. PMI5’s Fraud Detection Lab is working on a new technology to reveal and protect against this impression laundering Fraud. We are working with advertisers to reduce fraud so that advertisers can get what they are paying for.

By Techwacky

Editor-in-Chef of