Online Fraud and the Sneaky Places It Hides

In part one of our online advertising fraud series, we learned that advertisers waste over $6 billion a year in fraudulent advertising spend. Fraudulent accounts are abundant, and with good reasons: there are no rules, no consequences, and no regulations for their actions.

With 67% of online bot traffic originating from residential IP addresses, it’s more likely than not that you, too, have been affected by advertising fraud. In part two of this series, we’ll take a look at where we find ad fraud, and why each form of fraud is so popular with fraudsters.

Video Fraud. Often stacked, layered, or invisible (e.g. one pixel by one pixel), it’s lucrative, with payouts often upwards of ten-times that of a banner ad.

  • Paid Impression Fraud. Advertisers pay for additional traffic to their website, but get traffic from known bots. These may go undetected without the use of a third-party traffic scoring solution.
  • Ad Retargeting. Bots replicate highly engaged user behaviors, like someone looking for a refrigerator for their home. The ad retargeting company, who’s a bot, picks up on these engaged users, and serves them retargeted refrigerator ads. They make money off the impression, which was never viewed by an actual engaged user.
  • Hidden Ad Impressions. For example, small ads can be hidden within a larger ad. Not only does the larger ad show as a viewable impression, but the smaller ad running inside it will, too.
  • Fake Sites. These sites are built for the sole purpose of serving ads and have no content that a user would actually want to see.

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