This Thanksgiving we give thanks to Google and Facebook for patrolling the internet from fake news. This is an amazing feat considering it took only one month. It’s amazing how fast these internet juggernauts can fix such difficult problems. This leads one to believe ad fraud is a simple problem to fix.
An eclipse is a very rare occurrence. Ancient myths say earthquakes happen, volcanoes erupt, or aliens appear. Other myths say it drives man crazy. Today we see Google giving refunds back to their clients for their many years of massive ad fraud.
This is a very good move on Googles part to temporarily keep regulators at bay. The massive ad fraud problem they have is now shifting from Googles liability to the publishers. This is similar to how credit card companies make their merchants pro active with credit card fraud and the fee which is charged to them. Keep in mind, this shift is only for the Google Network Members. Google Properties will still have massive ad fraud.
By shifting the ad fraud refund to publishers, Google is now trying to show the appearance of a “real exchange“. Exchanges are known to be unbiased between multiple buyers and sellers. A very important characteristic exchanges have is one that acts as a third party without taking proprietary positions or making markets as we see with Google. Google fails at that part by front running ads. Also, exchanges exercise power between it’s members conduct as we see with Google enforcing refunds for ad fraud among it’s members. This gives Google the upper hand.
But…..don’t be fooled. This new refund is only coming from Googles Network Members and not from Google properties such as Google Search, Youtube, Google App, Gmail, Google Maps, and Google Play. Note below on Google’s most recent 2017 Q2 report that Google Network Members contributes to only about 19% of it’s Google Advertising Revenue. What this means is, the Google Network Members line will decrease in the future and Google will focus on increasing it’s main business that doesn’t have to give refunds back. Google properties accounts for 81% of its ad revenues.
What are advertisers and Google Network Members supposed to do?
From an advertisers point of view, an advertiser should only use Google Network Members that opt into the refund program. The advertiser must use technology such as SecureAd to show proof of fraud and collect the GLCID which is required from Google. We are seeing more advertisers and ad agencies being proactive with ad fraud. The reasoning is to show value and transparency to their higher ups for what they are doing in this ever changing adtech ecosystem.
From the publisher’s point of view which are the Google Network Members, they are going to want to make sure they have publisher analytics in place for when Google requests a refund back. The publisher analytics are very important because it will verify any discrepancies that may arise between the advertiser, Google, and the publisher.
A note should be made, Google will refund the “Platform Fee” which is around 7-10% of total purchase. This is peanuts for the revenue juggernaut.
Solar anomalies can cause unnecessary hysteria and make fools of people. While many ended up in the emergency room for putting sunscreen on their eyeballs, Google continues to burn it’s clients and eclipse regulators.
Our Chief Marketing Officer William Scheckel was recently interviewed by Equities titled “Digital Ad Fraud is a $20 billion Issue. Here’s How to Stop It”. The interview drives home the importance of protecting digital assets such as digital ads from bots. The bad actors want your dollars. Value creation is seen directly in ROI on how effective digital assets are protected.
My favorite scene from the movie “Trading Places” with Eddie Murphy as Billy Ray Valentine and Dan Aykroyd as Lewis Winthorpe III is the ending in the Comex Commodities Exchange Center (CCEC) Orange Juice pits. The scene:
Valentine: Oh you see, I made Lewis a bet here. Lewis made me a bet that we both couldn’t get rich and put you both in the poor house at the same time. He didn’t think we could do it. I won.
Lewis: I lost… One Dollar!
Valentine: Thank you Lewis.
Lewis: After you.
Valentine: Certainly. (Lewis laughing.)
Exchange Floor Official: Margin call, gentlemen.
Mortimer Duke: Why you can’t expect…
President of Exchange: You know the rules. All accounts to be settled at the end of the day’s trading, without exception.
This last statement from the President of the Exchange to both Dukes is why futures work. Most importantly real orange juice (OJ) will be delivered. I mentioned “real” because in adtech, we see different types of fraud delivered.
The futures contracts represent real orange juice. The buyers aren’t expecting fake orange juice. When delivery occurs, real orange juice is really delivered. In adtech its much more different. The term fake adtech is real. End of month ad stuffing is seen with publishers “marking the close” a term from Wall St which is a form of market manipulation. This marking the close is done by ad bots which are artificially generating revenue for the publishers on the advertisers dime.
Other types of fraud exist in adtech which is why a futures market in adtech is very difficult to make. The problem is a buyer of a contract really expects real orange juice. In adtech a buyer doesn’t know what they are buying.
Futures is a way for a farmer to hedge their crops for unforeseen events in weather. They’d rather get paid now and push the future risk off to somebody else. Other buyers or speculators provide liquidity for this sale.
In adtech, we are in a new dawn of super fast changing news. Publishers want to get paid but also have risk from the latest news scandal and an advertiser dropping them as a result of the scandal. This is risk publishers would gladly like to eliminate. If both parties trust what will be delivered, a new market will be created in adtech.
Transparency meaning real ads viewed or clicked by a human is the last step needed for futures on digital ads.
Math as a kid was about counting on your fingers. I forgot which grade it was but it lasted for a few years till multiplication arrived. The good ole days. Keep those memories fresh.
Recently we are seeing math problems that can be solved on our fingers in adtech. The Wall St Journal (WSJ) just figured out that by abandoning Google, they instantly increased their conversion analytics. What a miracle! Eliminate bots and your conversions increase.
This is the type of value creation that advertising and marketing departments get giant bonuses for. Simply by blocking Googles search, the WSJ was able to increase the rate of visitors converting into paying clients. Although the WSJ dropped 44 percent of it’s fake traffic from Google, the conversions increased. This truly shows how many bots Google has. This is basic level math.
Lets see how this works again. By shutting off Google traffic, you increase conversions because instead of trying to convert a robot to a paying human, you eliminate the bot and only serve to real humans. Interesting concept…
Scams coming from the telephone number of 202-697-7005. Their message is below.
This call is regarding an enforcement action which has been executed by the US treasury department regarding tax fraud against your name ignoring this would be an intentional or tempt to avoid initial appearance before the magistrate judge were exempt jury for a federal criminal offense so before this matter goes to Federal Claims Court house or before you get arrested. Kindly call us back on our number as soon as possible. The number to reach us is 202-697-7005. Let me repeat the number 8-202-697-7005 hope to hear from you soon before the charges are pressed against you. Thank you. Charges are pressed against you. Thank you.
Like the movie Money Monster with George Clooney, we see similarities with the most recent “Facebook Glitch”. Maybe this time Facebook gets it right? But, what is right for Facebook?
Previously we saw a “Facebook Glitch” in November 2016 and in September 2016. They mentioned that these were “Glitches”. You know, $430 billion dollar companies could have “Glitches”. A “Glitch” is a “Glitch” but how about three “Glitches” in nine months? What’s worse is how long did they take to figure out before they stopped billing their clients for their unknown “Glitch”?
How many more “Glitches” are we going to see from Facebook this year? As I’ve mentioned before, the digital ad fraud is only going to get worse. I frequently call these players fake adtech because they are using such antiquated technology to authenticate their users. These attacks will change and innovate. Most recently we saw a ransomware called “Wanna Cry” to only morph into a crypto currency botnet miner called Adylkuzz. Will this stop here? Very unlikely.
As we see Facebook’s network continue to grow and blow out earnings, the question that is asked next, are these fake social networks? Are you continuously increasing revenues and earnings with all these Facebook users when you advertise? There’s only one way to find out. SecureAd.
Most of you have seen Star Wars the movie and are familiar with the term “The Force”. It’s an analogy on how easy it is to go from good to evil.
eZanga, “The Trusted Online Marketing Firm” somehow lost its way as a digital ad agency. Being involved in ad fraud research, eZanga went to the dark side as mentioned in a new report from Dhar Method’s titled “Ad Fraud in Our Own Backyard“. eZanga is a contractor for US General Service Administration (GSA) without any shame. The dark side runs deep with eZanga.
Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” -Yoda
Speaking of the dark side, ad fraudsters targeted porn sites with a newly discovered scam called “Traffic Alchemist“. They disguised their fake traffic as views on reputable sites such as Google and Twitter to trick Google Analytics. These scammers have scammed $7M per month since April 2016.
April is a month of fooling the fools, especially on April 1st. It’s funny how the “glitches” here and here keep fooling Google. In the fast changing market place of adtech, players are getting fooled.
Most people have heard of fake news. Like fake news, we are experiencing fake adtech. Fake adtech is very similar to fake news. Fake adtech is garbage in, garbage out analytics. It’s amazing how many fake adtech companies there are out there. I have run into quite a bit, from scams to companies creating zero value to their clients. Look hard enough and you will find fake adtech with your partners. Facebook and Google seem to be in a tie with their fake adtech which they call “glitches“.
“Fools make feasts and wise men eat them.”
― Benjamin Franklin
Google once dominated adtech. Then Facebook IPO’d and a duopoly emerged in adtech. More recently we are seeing another heavy weight enter this market very aggressively. We are starting to see a triopoly in adtech with the addition of Amazon. Amazon could be a monster if they play their cards correctly. Amazon’s consumers purchasing behavior is very valuable. People making purchases is key analytics instead of trying to figure out what a consumers behavior is without a purchase. Both equate to highly valuable analytics.
Because data is so valuable, the FCC just opened up the market for competition for Google and Facebook. This should keep them all on their tippy toes. They now have real competition for consumer analytics from ISP’s such as Verizon (AOL/Yahoo) and AT&T.
April just started and the news keeps coming. Don’t be fooled by fake adtech!
2016 introduced us to the lethal weaponry of DDoS attacks on a scale unseen in previous years. A favorite entry tactic was the use of IoT devices like malware botnet called Mirai. The hitlist included AirBnB, Amazon, GitHub, Spotify, Tumblr, Twitter, and Xbox. More recently Lloyds Bank was attacked with new versions of the Mirai malware botnet. We are seeing malware morph as seen in adtech by the HummingWhale.
Adtech cyber crimes continue HARDER, FASTER, BETTER, and STRONGER. Most recently an adtech botnet called MethBot generated millions of dollars per day with 6,000 domains, 250,000 URLS, and 500,000 IP addresses. The MethBot was clouded in two different locations with a custom browser and random mouse movements to mimic humans. This will morph into a newer version in 2017.
This is the tip of the iceberg of what’s going on in the adtech eco-system. Fraud is running rampant in adtech creating major conflicts of interest seen with the Criteo and Steel House lawsuit.
Malware is on the rise and will continue. Wherever there is money to be made, fraudsters will be there. Ad fraud affects the entire eco-system of ad tech from the advertisers, publishers, exchanges, and the adtech systems used. The survivors will be the ones creating value for their clients with ROI.